What is the main setting of Speak as well as its main conflict?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The rich aspect of Anderson's work is that the setting can be literally in any high school.  The exact location of the events are in Syracuse, New York, but the issues addressed in the work make it applicable to nearly any setting.  Part of the reason for this is that so much of the work takes place in Melinda's psyche and in her own mind.  The mental setting is where we as the reader are able to examine the essential conflict of the book.  Namely, that Melinda was the victim of a sexual assault and is blamed for breaking up a party when she phones the police.  This dual impact of having her sense of personal rights violated by the individual and then her right to social acceptance being violated by the larger social element makes for one notion of the conflict.  The other half of this equation centers around how she comes to terms with the assault and understands both her role in asserting her own voice through such an injustice.

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