In Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, where in chapter one is symbolism seen?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Merryweather High School's mascot is mentioned in the first chapter of the novel and continually changes throughout the school year, which symbolically reflects Melinda's inability to cope with her negative feelings and her personal struggle to discover her true identity. In chapter 1, the school board changes the mascot from a Trojan to a Blue Devil because the Trojan mascot did not send a strong "abstinence message." As the school year progresses, the school board changes the mascot to a Tiger, a Wombat, and finally a Hornet. The changing mascot symbolically reflects Melinda's emotional change and outlook on life after being sexually assaulted at a summer party. As a freshman entering high school, Melinda struggles to develop an identity and properly cope with her traumatic experience. Similar to Melinda's change in personality, perspective, and status, the Merryweather High School also struggles to develop a "politically correct" identity.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Marking Period One," or the first section of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, introduces a symbol which extends throughout the novel's entirety. On page four, of the National Book Award-Silver edition, Melinda has just gotten onto the school bus for her first day of high school. Her ex-best friend, Rachel, is laughing at her. Rachel mouths that she hates Melinda. Melinda immediately bites her lip.

Melinda's lip symbolizes her inability to speak. She fails to have a good relationship with anyone (her old friends, her new friend, or her family) because she refuses to talk. Melinda, at one point, has chewed her lip so much that it is scabbed over and bloody.