What does the apple symbolize in Speak?

In Speak, the apple can symbolize a gentler and safer time and hope.

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Apples appear at different times during Speak. At one point early on in the story, the Marathas arrive with trays of mini muffins and apple slices. Yet the most significant moment involving an apple probably happens in chapter 30 when the students dissect apples in Ms. Keen’s biology class.

At first, the apple appears to be a symbol for a gentler, innocent past. The smell of the apples makes Melinda think of the time she visited an orchard with her parents when she was little. The experience is presented in an idyllic way. Melinda says it was like she was in a “storybook.” At the orchard, there was no IT or trauma. It’s like the apples, the smells they generate, and the particular moment that they recall symbolize safety and stability. When Melinda’s dad lifted her up into the apple tree, Melinda said that the branch didn’t shake one bit.

The apple could also symbolize rebirth and renewal. When Melinda cuts open her apple, one of the seeds has split open and is already sprouting the beginnings of another apple tree. Perhaps the apple represents the ability to grow. The tiny apple tree shows Melinda that it is possible to thrive or sprout again. In this light, the apple likely symbolizes hope.

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