What does the term MISS stand for in Speak?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Anderson's work, MISS stands for Merryweather In School Suspension.  This is where Melinda is sent for her cutting school.  Essentially, the room is a place where those who are not understood by school authority is sent.  Ironically, it is where Andy is sent to, bringing back together predator and prey, sanctioned by the school authority.  Such a reality only furthers Melinda's belief that the school fosters alienation, particularly her own.  Additionally, the room stands for another zone of fear.  One of the common elements of Melinda's state of being in the world is that there is no realm in which she feels comfort, except for the art room.  MISS enhances this feeling as it represents a domain where those who are "mis-"understood are sent and one that brings attacker and target together.  In this light, the room is one more realm that brings fear to Melinda, representing another domain that is synonymous with alienation and isolation, and another obstacle for her to overcome in her transformation. In this, the room represents an element of the world that, at first, poses threat, but later becomes another domain that Melinda overcomes through her strength, resiliency, and intensity.