What were some of the changes that take place in Melinda from the start to the finish of the book, Speak?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would focus on how Melinda changes after the night at the party and the 911 call.  From being a part of the normative crowd, she ends up retreating into a realm of silence and moving from the light.  The normally talkative individual retreats into a world of not speaking.  Her physical appearance changes into one that is marred by a lack of hygiene as well as health problems presenting itself. I think that being able to identify these particular changes brings to light the idea that Melinda experiences two violations.  The first is what “it” did that night and the second is the fact that no one believes her or believes in Melinda.  This changes everything for her and causes her to change in every way possible.  It is also responsible for the change that sees her immersing herself in artistic expression and finding solace in the world that lies outside the norm, one where she becomes attune to the suffering of others through her own silence.  When she does “speak,” it is a moment where a voice is reclaimed, with a timbre that was absent from her even before the attack, another testament to her change.