What are some important quotes from Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and their meanings?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak is a novel describing the trials and tribulations teenagers face in high school. Encompassing the life of Melinda Sordino, the novel gives Melinda's first hand account of her first year of high school. Many quotes speak to either Melinda's position as an outcast or one's need to find himself or herself.

“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against." This quote refers to the necessity of finding positives in one's life. People need to recognize who they are based upon their own personal beliefs.

“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time." This quote speaks directly to Melinda's inability to speak about what happened to her (the rape). The rape, therefore, is eating away at her--piece by piece. 

“Art without emotion its like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag." This quote plays upon Melinda's art ability. Spoken by her art teacher, Mr. Freeman, the quote refers to the necessity of emotion in art. He is trying to get Melinda to put emotion into her art, but she cannot do this because of the pain she is harboring.

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