What is a physical description of the character Melinda in Speak?

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The first physical description of Melinda emphasizes her lips, which are in bad condition because she is continually biting them. As a traumatized adolescent girl who has been sexually assaulted, Melinda's constant lip biting is a manifestation of her stress and anxiety. Melinda describes her mouth by saying,

"I can't...

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The first physical description of Melinda emphasizes her lips, which are in bad condition because she is continually biting them. As a traumatized adolescent girl who has been sexually assaulted, Melinda's constant lip biting is a manifestation of her stress and anxiety. Melinda describes her mouth by saying,

"I can't stop biting my lips. It looks like my mouth belongs to someone else, someone I don't even know" (Anderson, 17).

In the section entitled "Hall of Mirrors," Melinda goes shopping for clothes and gives minor descriptions of her physical appearance. The reader discovers that Melinda is not comfortable with her shoe size or weight. Upon entering the store, Melinda says,

"I need a size ten, as much as it kills me to admit that. Everything I own is an eight or a small. I look at my canoe feet and my wet, obnoxious anklebones" (Anderson, 123).

Melinda then offers a brief description of her facial features by saying,

"...I'm supposed to be grateful for a face full of zits, hair in embarrassing places, and feet that grow an inch a night" (Anderson, 124).

When Melinda enters the dressing room, she looks at her reflection in a three-way mirror. Melinda once again describes her physical appearance by saying,

"I hook my hair behind my ears. I should have washed it. My face is dirty. I lean into the mirror. Eyes after eyes after eyes stare back at me. Am I in there somewhere? A thousand eyes blink. No makeup. Dark circles. I pull the side flaps of the mirror in closer, folding myself into the looking glass and blocking out the rest of the store" (Anderson, 124).

Ever since Melinda was raped, she begins wearing baggy clothes and her appearance reflects her inner turmoil. Melinda once again gives a vivid description of her lips by saying,

"I push my ragged mouth against the mirror. A thousand bleeding, crusted lips push back" (Anderson, 125).

Melinda's crusted, bloody lips emphasize the fact that she refuses to speak about being raped and does not talk about her negative emotions. Instead of discussing her issues, Melinda attempts to repress her negative feelings, and it begins to affect her physical appearance.

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We are aware from early in the text that Melinda bites her lip, but her first description of herself in the mirror probably tells the reader more about her internal state of mind than her true physical appearance-

Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed-up horror of a mouth.

As the social isolation stifles Melinda, her mental torture becomes physical as she finds she struggles to speak-

It's getting harder to talk. My throat is always sore, my lips raw. When I wake up in the morning, my jaws are clenched so tight I have a headache.

Melinda is very conscious of her growing body and views the process extremely negatively-

I need a size ten, as much as it kills me to admit that Everything I own is an eight or a small. I look at my canoe feet and my wet, obnoxious anklebones. Aren’t girls supposed to stop growing at this age?

She realises once she faces the trauma of the summer before, that she can grow, move on and become a woman as she has the strength to acknowledge the past and let it go-

It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow.

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