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by Laurie Halse Anderson

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What does Heather tell Melinda when she dissolves their friendship in Speak?

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emilyknight7 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ah, the friendship that was doomed to fail. Even though Melinda and Heather have very different personalities and goals, they were thrown together (by Heather) at the beginning of the year, due to a lack of other friends. Melinda was shunned by everyone who knew her (and plenty of people who didn't), while Heather was new to the city and school. As Heather is an avid social climber and Melinda a depressed rape survivor, their friendship was not likely to flourish.

Still, Heather is the only buffer Melinda has against the cruelties of the high school social scene. So when Heather breaks up their friendship, Melinda is understandably hurt, especially when Heather says this:

"You don't like anything. You are the most depressed person I've ever met, and excuse me for saying this, but you are no fun to be around and I think you need professional help" (pg 105).

This absolutely may be true, but it's brutally honest and cuts Melinda deeply. When she points out that friends should help each other in bad times, Heather responds, "I knew you would take this the wrong way. You are just so weird sometimes" (pg 106).

Heather goes on to reveal that she is ditching Melinda now due to Melinda's "reputation" and that maybe when Melinda is happier, she'll have lots of friends.

While it's understandably hard for Melinda to hear these things, she also knows that it's true; she is hard to be around. Still, losing Heather's faux friendship means Melinda is losing one more thing that keeps her from falling deeper into depression. 


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