What is the exposition of the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson?

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In order to fully understand the answer to this question, you must first understand what exposition is. In the plot diagram, the purpose of an exposition is to introduce the setting, character, and conflict.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak begins with Melinda Sordino on her first day of freshmen...

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In order to fully understand the answer to this question, you must first understand what exposition is. In the plot diagram, the purpose of an exposition is to introduce the setting, character, and conflict.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak begins with Melinda Sordino on her first day of freshmen year at Merryweather High School in Syracuse, NY. Melinda, often referred to as Mel, isn’t well liked by her classmates, although it doesn’t appear to have always been that way. As a freshmen, Mel is withdrawn from others and silent for most of the novel. Readers are introduced to Mr. Freeman, the art teacher whom Mel seems to find comfort in. Mel’s only friend, Heather, is also introduced during the exposition of the novel. One last character, IT, is referenced throughout the novel and finally revealed as a senior, Andy Evans.

While the conflict isn’t immediately evident, it is clear to readers that Mel is emotionally disturbed and depressed. This man vs self conflict seems to be the driving conflict throughout the novel. As the novel progresses and Mel is able to become more self aware through her art project, it is revealed that the summer before freshmen year, Mel was raped by Andy Evans and then disowned by her best friend, Rachel.

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Expositions are used to introduce background information about events, settings, and characters.

The exposition of the book Speak introduces readers to the narrator.  Her name is Melinda Sordino.  She is riding on the bus on her way to her first day of high school at Merryweather High.  That tells readers her approximate age.  Readers also learn that Melinda is not well liked by just about everybody.  Something happened at the end of the previous school year, and Melinda is the cause of that; therefore, everybody treats her like a pariah.  Not even her former friends want anything to do with her.  The only student that does want to actually talk to Melinda is a student named Heather. Readers also learn that what happened a few months ago was that Melinda called the police and had a party shut down.  That's why the students are holding a grudge against Melinda.  Lastly, the exposition includes details that something else really bad happened to Melinda at the party.  It's why she called the police, and she desperately wants to tell people about it, but she doesn't know how. 

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