What does the tree Melinda spends the year on creating symbolize?  does any one know what the tree symbolizes

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copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, the tree symbolizes Melinda. In the end of the book, when Melinda finds her voice to speak once again and confront her past and her attacker, she is finally able to create a tree in leaf, a springtime image of rebirth after a long winter, just as Melinda herself is being reborn after her almost year-long ordeal. In the many false starts and variations of the tree Melinda creates, we see the range of emotions and reactions she has to her situation. From the leafless tree, to the "ugly" tree, etc. all of the thoughts and emotions Melinda shares with us about her creation are also descriptions of herself. The tree is a reflection of her.