In this book Speak, what are some characteristics of Melinda?

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Melinda Sordino, the narrator of Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, is a 14-year-old rape survivor who is deeply confused about how to process her trauma and how to protect other women from her assaulter.

As the novel's title suggests, Melinda loses and regains her voice throughout the book....

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Melinda Sordino, the narrator of Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, is a 14-year-old rape survivor who is deeply confused about how to process her trauma and how to protect other women from her assaulter.

As the novel's title suggests, Melinda loses and regains her voice throughout the book. A sexual assault in itself silences its victim, refusing to hear the victim's "no." Melinda's assault continues to silence her even after the event itself is over, and Melinda speaks only when she thinks it's important. Her self-silencing reflects a lot of her complicated emotions: her shame, her alienation from her peers, her self-harming, and even her confusion about whether she was raped at all. In Melinda's quietness, we see a lot of the uncertainty that is a trademark of adolescence; Melinda's own uncertainty is amplified because of her horrific encounter with Andy and the shadow it casts over her first year of high school.

Of course, while Speak grapples with Melinda's silence, it also sees Melinda finding her voice. On the day she stays home sick from school, she watches talk shows and imagines what the hosts would say to her if she were to appear on the show and tell her story. Oprah and others help Melinda work through her confusion and uncertainty and ultimately help her reclaim her "voice." When Melinda's ex-best friend Rachel Bruin begins to date Andy, Melinda uses her voice to speak up and warn Rachel about the type of person Andy is. Despite the fact that Rachel has been cruel to Melinda throughout the book, Melinda still prioritizes Rachel's safety and well-being over the harm Rachel has caused. Thus, we see Melinda's deep sense of rightness, truth, and loyalty.

Melinda is a complex character dealing with psychological trauma during an already-turbulent period of any person's life. Ultimately, we are left with the impression of Melinda as a strong young woman: a person who is resilient and thoughtful and who uses her voice to speak up even when she'd prefer to stay silent.

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Melinda is quiet to the point of being mute, shy to the point of being asocial, and withdrawn to such an extent that she no longer feels any meaningful connection to the world around her. Melinda feels like a misfit, like someone who doesn't belong anywhere, whether it's at school or at home. All of these personal characteristics are a direct consequence of the appalling sexual assault that she suffered which has prevented her from leading a normal life ever since.

Despite her chronic inability to engage with the outside world, Melinda is still possessed of a rich interior life. She has a highly developed aesthetic sensibility and finds expression in her painting. Art provides Melinda with a welcome escape: a sanctuary from a harsh, unforgiving world. It is through art, and only through art, that Melinda is able to express her innermost thoughts and feelings. Melinda is a highly intelligent, articulate girl but because of her deep trauma is unable to reveal her true self to others in the conventional manner—that is to say through words. Art therefore provides her with an outlet through which she can show everyone just who the real Melinda is beneath the reserved, awkward exterior.

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Melinda is a traumatized adolescent entering high school who struggles to assimilate into her school's various social groups. Melinda is an intelligent, artistic girl whose true personality fails to fully develop after she is raped at a party that takes place before her freshman year. Melinda is portrayed as a rather sarcastic, cynical, unenthused student who absolutely hates school. The only class Melinda enjoys is art, where she struggles to create a meaningful project. Melinda is also depicted as a reclusive person and spends most of her time alone in the empty janitor's closet at school. She is also an introspective, insightful individual who pays close attention to her surroundings and attempts to sort out her difficult feelings following her traumatic assault. Towards the end of the novel, Melinda depicts her courage and reserve by challenging Andy Evans and finally accepting herself.

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Quite simply, Melinda is a fourteen-year-old high school student whose life is dominated by the silence she creates for herself.  She is miserable in her school life and as a result of being ostracised, she publicly appears mute.  Ironically, Melinda has incredible "people-watching" skills that she reveals through her inner monologue.  Through this monologue, the reader finds Melinda to be all encompassing:  serious, intelligent, humorous, and cynical.  Despite all of these endearing qualities, Melinda remains misunderstood.  In my opinion, Melinda is also brave.  It takes a very special girl to call the authorities when friends and acquaintances are drinking illegally.  Her involvement in the illegal activity simply magnifies her bravery (not to mention the fact that Melinda was raped).  Unfortunately, Melinda becomes obsessed with what others think of her; however, she ultimately triumphs through the vindication of helping others through sharing her own experience.  Furthermore, what English teacher wouldn't adore a character who relates to Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter!

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