Mr. Freeman gives Melinda a ride to the store and begins talking to her about art. When Melinda tells Mr. Freeman that she doesn't know what he means when he says that she needs to put more emotion into her artwork, Mr. Freeman challenges Melinda to think of some type of feeling before she works on her next project. Mr. Freeman urges Melinda to tap into her emotions before he says,
When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time (Anderson, 122).
Mr. Freeman is essentially saying that it is dangerous for humans to repress their emotions, even if the emotions are difficult and painful to acknowledge. According to Mr. Freeman, one must express oneself in order to live a fulfilling and content life. His comment also directly relates to Melinda, who represses her emotions, thoughts, and memories by refusing to speak about what happened at the party last summer. Mr. Freeman seems like he is aware that Melinda is experiencing an internal struggle and encourages her to express her emotions through her art. He does not want to see Melinda emotionally suffer as a result of repressing her negative emotions.