What is the climax of the novel Speak?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For me, the climax of this great novel comes when the final confrontation occurs between the narrator and Andy Evans, who again tries to rape her like he did before the novel began. The significance of this encounter is shown by the way that Andy Evans is referred to as a "Beast" and then as "IT" as he tries to violently rape the narrator once more. However, this is also the time when the narrator finds the energy and the inner strength to oppose him, and to threaten him in turn, which seems to move her towards resolving some of her massive conflicts. Consider the following paragraph:

Shards of glass slip down the wall and into the sink. IT pulls away from me, puzzled. I reach in and wrap my fingers around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evans's neck. He freezes. I push just hard enough to raise one drop of blood. He raises his arms over his head. My hand quivers. I want to insert the glass all the way through his throat, I want to hear him scream. I look up. I see the stubble on his chin, a fleck of white in the corner of his mouth. His lips are paralysed. He cannot speak. That's good enough.

There are two things of vital interest here which indicate that this is the climax. First of all, note the way that when the narrator has gained advantage over Andy Evans, she ceases to call him the terrifying "IT" and refers to him using his name. This is significant because it shows how she is able to look at him as a normal human being and not a terrifying monster. Secondly, she is finally able to reduce him to silence in the same way that he reduced her to silence.

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