What are some important scenes from Speak about which to write a paragraph?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The opening scene and the scene in which Melinda confronts Andy would be two moments in Speak that can be explored through written analysis.

In the book's opening scene, Melinda challenges the traditional depiction of high school life.  She shows a very harsh reality to  Merryweather High School. Melinda talks about social alienation, a conflicted view of self, and a world where there is little in way of empathy.  The opening scene of Anderson's book can be analyzed on many different levels.  In terms of narrative point of view, Melinda's voice guides the reader.  The opening sentence gives much insight into her narrative voice.  "It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new note- books, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache."  When she deconstructs the hypocrisy of high school with lines such as "Better the Devil you know than the Trojan you don't," it is clear that Melinda is able to parse through the inauthentic community that defines the high school environment.  Finally, the opening scene of the novel presents a social arrangement defined by exclusive cliques:

We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders. I am clanless...

I am Outcast. 

The fierce social division that Melinda defines as "clans" repudiates the belief that high school is diverse and welcoming.  The opening scene can be analyzed on literary and social levels in its honest portrayal of high school.

Another powerful scene in Speak is when Melinda confronts Andy Evans. When Melinda is face to face with her rapist, the novel's emotional tension reaches its maximum point.  At this moment, all of Melinda's growth and evolution throughout her freshman year faces its ultimate test.  There is a directness in language that Anderson uses to capture the pain of this moment.  Andy is villainous in how he corners Melinda and in the way he threatens her.  The scene is particularly effective in Melinda's perception.   An example of this is how she describes the way "Maya Angelou looks at me. She tells me to make some noise. I open my mouth and take a deep breath."  The details of the confrontation are also a part of Melinda's voice when she describes the wetness of "IT's" lips and how his teeth are against her cheekbone.  When she raises her voice and learns to "speak," it is the most important moment of the novel.  Analyzing this particular scene can display how Melinda has become like the trees she draws.  She has grown, and writing about this scene could explore it in great detail.