In the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda is given the task of working with a tree as her object for the year in Mr. Freeman's art class. This is not coincidental, as the tree symbolizes Melinda's growth throughout the novel.
In the beginning of the year, Melinda has a difficult time working with the tree. She begins by using watercolors to present the tree as a depiction of herself-- wounded. "I try to paint them so they are nearly dead, but not totally," (30-1). Her trees are alone and surrounded by darkness, which represents the way Melinda feels about herself during this time.
As the novel continues, Melinda begins to identify and deal with her raw feelings, and it's reflected in her work with the tree. Following the Thanksgiving debacle with the turkey, she brings the bones in to art class as a way of memorializing it: "Never has a bird been so tortured to provide such a lousy dinner," (61). In the process of doing so, she is successful at expressing her feelings as Mr....
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