What is a major event that occured in the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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An important event from Speak is when Melinda finally stands up to Andy in the broom closet when he tries to rape her again and she fights back.

Melinda finds herself trapped in the closet with Andy, the boy who raped her at the party before school started.  He is angry because she told Rachel that Andy raped her and she blew him off for the prom.

I never raped anybody.  I don’t have to.  You wanted it just as bad as I did.  But your feelings got hurt, so you started spreading lies… (p. 193)

This is an important event, because Melinda has spent the entire year tormented by this boy and all of the other kids.  They ostracize her, insult her, and bully her on a daily basis.  Now she is face to face with her attacker.  She can submit and go through it all again, or she can fight back.  She chooses to fight back.

He tells her she won’t scream, because she didn’t scream before.  Yet she does scream.  He hits her, and she struggles, throwing everything at him that she can find.  She finally finds a block of wood and hits a poster covered in glass with it.  She finally speaks, telling him she said no.  He nods, and she realizes someone is pounding on the door.  It’s Rachel, who rescues her.

With this incident, Melinda finds her voice.  She stands up for herself, physically defends herself, and gets back her reputation all at once.

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