What are Melinda's goals and motivations in Speak?

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Melinda Sordino is depicted as a traumatized teenager who is ostracized during her freshman year of high school for calling the police to party after she was raped by an older boy named Andy Evans. Tragically, Melinda struggles to find her voice and inform others about her traumatic experience.

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Melinda Sordino is depicted as a traumatized teenager who is ostracized during her freshman year of high school for calling the police to party after she was raped by an older boy named Andy Evans. Tragically, Melinda struggles to find her voice and inform others about her traumatic experience.

Melinda was formerly a popular student who had many friends and participated in extra-curricular activities. Unfortunately, everything has changed, and she is now an outcast in her school. Melinda's goal is simply to go back to experiencing life as a normal teenager. She is initially motivated to get her friends back and become popular again. Melinda's goal is also to emotionally recover from her traumatic experience. She has built a wall around herself and struggles to cope with being sexually assaulted.

Melinda also wants to prevent Andy Evans from hurting anyone else and wishes to warn other girls that he is a sexual predator. Overall, Melinda wants to emotionally heal, to go back to being a popular student, and to prevent Andy Evans from causing harm again.

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Melinda lives her life the same way as prisoners do: one day at a time. Given her troubled psychological state, it's impossible for her to see beyond the next 24 hours. If she can somehow survive until the dawn, then that's progress.

However, this proves easier said than done. Starting at high school presents more than its fair share of problems. Adapting to these new surroundings would be hard enough to begin with, but for someone like Melinda—damaged, friendless, and alone—it's virtually impossible. So all that's left is to get through each day the best way that she can.

However, despite everything, Melinda still has sufficient motivation to complete her painting project. She seems to realize that the completion of her painting is important to the healing process: the only way that she can express herself and her feelings. The painting gives Melinda something to live for, some sense of stability in a life riven by disorder and constant upheaval.

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Melinda's goals are pretty simple - she wants to survive.  The story begins with the beginning of school, and Melinda's observations show the simplicity of her goal:

"It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate and a stomachache." (First Marking Period)

Melinda has not interest in being at school, but there is a clear sense that she knows she has to be.  She wants to get through the year, to survive and move on.  She has not allowed her rape to destroy her, but she has allowed it to control her, and all she wants to do keep surviving.

As the year progresses, though, Melinda's goals quickly begin to change.  She begins to want to take control of her life back, though she clearly is having trouble with that.  Her reaction to Rachel, who has withdrawn from her, shows this:

"I don't want to be cool. I want to grab her by the neck and shake her and scream at her to stop treating me like dirt. She didn't even bother to find out the truth-what kind of friend is that?" (First Marking Period)

It is the Fourth Marking Period that her forward movement becomes clear and her goal is achieved:

"IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn't my fault. He hurt me. It wasn't my fault. And I'm not going to let it kill me. I can grow."

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