There are quite lots of quotes in the novel that show Melinda to be a young high school student whose life is dominated by silence and pain. Melinda is incredibly unhappy and, ostracised, decides never to speak in public.
"My throat squeezes shut, as if two hands of black fingernails are clamped on my windpipe."
Melinda spends ample time discussing (only with us, the readers) exactly why she chooses to do this.
It is easier not to say anything, . . . Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.
In accordance with this low self esteem level, Melinda lives in solitude and isolation both at school and home. I find it incredibly ironic that, despite her "inability" to speak, Melinda has a good knack for determining the personalities of others. Melinda reveals this to the readers through her inner monologue. Most quotes revealing her character come from this monologue. There are quite a few quotes showing Melinda to be serious, intelligent, humorous, and cynical.
Sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they'll let you become an adult. I hope it's worth it.
Melinda is certainly a misunderstood young lady. Her pain increases as she is forced to keep a secret as to why she called 911 at a party that got lots of her classmates in trouble. These classmates do not know Melinda was raped and, therefore, consider the phone call to be a betrayal. This crux of the story reveals even more about the bravery and pain of Melinda's character.
It's getting harder to talk. My throat is always sore, my lips raw. When I wake up in the morning, my jaws are clenched so tight I have a headache.
It is such a shame that someone with such eloquent thoughts chooses to keep them to herself! Luckily, Melinda ultimately triumphs through the vindication of helping others through sharing her own experience.