Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Speaking Up About Speak

On the 10th Anniversary of Laurie Halse Anderson's groundbreaking novel, Speak, we are all joining together to discuss this important book and the impact it has made on us and those around us.

When was the first time you read Speak? How did it affect you? Did you pass it along to friends or re-read it? Did the book mean something different to you when you read it ten years later?

Tell us your stories in the comments!

131 comments:

Lindsey Short said...

I just read this book in my education literacy class in college. I loved it! It is a great book for both adolescents and young adults. I will definatly be using this in my future classroom. Lindsey Short

Anonymous said...

I read speak for the first time in college. It was for a literacy class. To be honest the fist reaction I had to it at first was that I thought the characteristics of the students were a bit stereotypical. I only left highschool three years ago and the world is not really divided into Jocks, Cheerleaders, Nerds, etc. Maybe I was just lucky and my high school class was very accepting.
I also had a hard time relating to the character. I just could not understand how she could not tell anyone! I would have been running and screaming to let everyone know. I do feel compassion for her and understand I will never fully understand because i have never been in her situation.
It is also sad to think that stuff like this really does happen and that children out there really feel like they have no one to run to and tell. I would suggest this book to people and to students because maybe it would give someone the courage to speak up!

Cristina

Anonymous said...

I read Speak last year. I thought it was such an amazing book. It was hard to imagine why she didn't tell anyone and then I realized I did the same thing in college when I was attacked in a parking lot. I never told my parents, or my employer where the attack occurred. I just had him walk me to my car from then on. I told myself since I had defended myself and wasn't raped it didn't matter. Now I realize after reading Speak that man might have tried again with another more passive girl and I owed it to her to tell. That's what finally made her speak in the story too.

Anonymous said...

i read this book two years ago.
to this day, it's my favorite novel.
ive never gone through anything like melinda has,
but... i know what it's like to never
want to say anything at all.
a lot of times, there's no particular reason.
but i just find it hard to speak sometimes.
but this book means so much to me;
i dont even know what to do about it-
it means too much, hah :]

uhm...
about two months ago, one of my friends ran away from his house because he was so frustrated that child services did not believe him after confessing that his father had molested him. all he took was his phone, and was texting me and three other friends the entire time he was missing. his other friends all spoke about it among each other, but i never did. they didnt know me. my own circle of friends didnt even know anyone was missing, nevermind about me knowing him. he was found, and lives in a foster home now. it took me over a month to tell my best friend about the entire incedent.

i dont know why.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this book and recommend it to teenagers who claim that "they don't like to read." Everytime I give this book to a teen to read, they end up loving it and can relate to the whole "high school" scene. I love how the book is comical in its sarcastic way but it is also obviously painful for Melinda to not be able to talk about what happened. I love the movie adaptation as well. After the teens read the book I give them the movie and they are very surprised and love it!

Jalisa Allison said...

I read this book for a literacy class in college and I think it is a great read for young adults. I think that rape is an issue that should be put out there because it happens and it should be talked about. Young adults should know it's an issue and know that it's okay to tell someone. I think it would be great in a literature class, but since I'm teaching Math, I probably won't use it in my classroom!

Anonymous said...

Speak has made it clear that you cannot keep untold stories inside you for they only keep pain in and depressiion out.

I have a familiar story like Melinda.

It's true and it can happen to you.
*Student*

Becca Johnson said...

I absolutely loved Speak. I believe that everyone can relate to it in some way. I will definitely have Speak in my classroom library for my students read. It definitely a story that every future teacher needs to read so that we can look out for students like Melinda.

Anonymous said...

Speak is my favourite book. I'm about Melinda's age, and her story is incredible. LHA did everything right in it. She showed Melinda's pain in the right amount, without giving it all away. Everyone should read this book. I also enjoyed hearing what she thought, I would certainly join her anti-cheerleader clan :) Her sarcasm and stuff I can relate to.

I also loved the movie. Kristen Stewart played Melinda perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I read this book in a Literacy Developmet class in college and really enjoyed reading it. As I read this book, all I could remember was how my high school career had played out. In this book Melanie felt and was an outcast. I think this is a good book for a teacher that teaches in high school and for students that are at this age. This book gives the teacher a view into the teenager mind and life, so they can understand what students deal with at during this time of their life. The book also gives something that the students can relate too. High school is a hard time in a teenager's life. I feel like this book would be good to help them have a connection to something.

Megan Treadwell

Anonymous said...

when i read speak it really touched me. I wasnt raped but i know someone who was, when they told me wat happened, i was just silent. i didnt no what to say or how to react to such a thing.
The only way i could have understood was if i put her promblems and connected them with mine, like our family problems or stress.
But i always listened i never turned away from her or said anything negative only positive, and tell her what to do or talk to someone.
But then i thought i just read SPEAK, and that realted to her really well. I told her about the book and said that she should give it a chance because it helps knowing someone or to relate to what they are going threw.
She gave it a try and when she was doen reading it she came and told me, and talked about how there problems were almost exactley the same.
All she could say was thank you so much for helping me, now i feel like i can go talk to my mother or counsluer about what happened and actually feel like i can talk about it.
that really touched me and i felt like i can talk to anyone and help them out with there promblems.
=)

Anonymous said...

=)

selena said...

i read the poem you wrote from all the letters you got
and i thought that was one of the best poems i read i can really relate to the one pharse that says i wasnt raped but my dad a drunk my family is spliting up and im looseing my house that is like what is happening to me

Anonymous said...

Christa Jones said...I read this book for an literacy eduaction class and this book was well written. I think that it paints a perfect picture of what high school is like today. I would incorporate this book into my curriculumn.

Anonymous said...

speak is my favorite book. i read it for the first time last year, and it still has the same effect on me now as it did then, even though i have read it dozens of times.

nothing like melinda's situation has happened to me, but i just found out a few weeks ago that one of my best friends was raped as a child. i couldn'tsay anything either. i wanted to scream, to cry, to puke. It makes me mad, to think that guys can just take someone's body, and use it, abuse it, like it's a plaything.

it helps that melinda's relatable. Kids can relate to the clique system of high school, missing being a little kid, hating home life, impossible teachers, and the issues that come with valentine's day, prom, and homecoming. And she does it all with a funny, sarcastic, dark wit.

fantastic book. great read for anyone and everyone.

Anonymous said...

I just finished speak and i loved it so much!! Melinda had the courage to learn form the experience of her being raped by Andy she stood up to him and that is truly amazing. I still have loads of questions like did she and Nicole become friends again, what happened to Andy, did Melinda have a better relationships with her parents? It is such a good book my mom is now going to read it after she is done with it we are going to watch the movie!!=D

-Ana

Anonymous said...

I finished reading speak just a couple of months ago with my school's book-club. I think it was an awesome book, even though I'm just in middle school. I would recommend this book to EVERYBODY!!!!

Yaritza said...

This book is amazing! It just made me think about how people treat others because they have to to be in the "in" crowd. I highly recommend this book.

Anonymous said...

it was a good book

Anonymous said...

My school had to read this book for a book club. I saw the movie before I read the book but I thought the book captured the concept way better than the movie. This novel could help anyone get through rough times. The way Melinda opened up at the end was really great and it showed how strong she had to be to get through the year. I was really amazed at how well the book turned out to be. I definitely would recommend this book to anyone! x]

Anonymous said...

I personally think this book is great. I read it with my school book club and we all liked it. I believe it teaches you to understand others, not judge and if you have a friend that it seems that something is wrong ask. You can help out many people just by asking. Another thing is that you should never keep something locked up, all it is going to do is torment you more and more every day. There are people out there that can actually help you out with this type of situations. We can overcome anything we want. Finally, I strongly recommend this book to everybody.
-J.L :]

Iroquois said...

I've noticed that I happen to stumble on books with similar themes at the same time, and that's what happened last year when I read "Speak"; I also read Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale", and the combo of the two really got me thinking about gender and society, personal expression, and women's rights. I loved the character's honesty and her wry sense of humor. It's a definite must read for girls.

cc_lover said...

I saw the movie yesterday after hearing reviews of how great Kristen was in it. And after seeing it I went out and bought the book finishing it that same night.


I see a lot of myself in Melinda. Back in junior high and high school I was the 'shy one.' The one that hardly ever spoke or talked to anyone. I was so scared that no one would listen to what I had to say, nor would they even care. I sat alone during lunch and in high school avoided the cafateria as much as I could. I wasn't a part of the popular crowd, the athletic crowd, the cheerleader crowd, the party crowd, or even the smart overacheviers crowd. I was all by myself. I had friends, but they came and went like the seasons. I never did get the chance to 'speak' out. If I had read your book back then, I know it would have given me the confindence to. In 1999 I was a 9th grader just like Melinda. But now I'm a much older, wiser person and with time have slowly learned to break out of my shell, but reading this book has made want to break out even more and in ways of maybe helping others. I'm a teacher and even though I don't teach high school kids, I want to take the message of 'speak' and presents to my students. If I give them the power to speak at a early age then maybe, just maybe they can avoid the pain that Melinda and so many of us had to deal with.

Thnks Laurie for writing such an amazing book. This story doesn't just apply to teenagers, but I think it goes beyond generations. Anyone who has delt with pain in their lives and the unablility to speak about it can relate and maybe even find a piece of Melinda in themselves.

Anonymous said...

I first read it in Middle School and thought it was pretty amazing. I could definetely relate to Melinda, feeling like an outcast and everyone you know changing beyond recognition. I went through bullying when I was younger and managed to speak out about it, but there are so many kids who don't have the confidence to do so. This book should be introduced to classes to give kids the help they need to get through bullying and other painful experiences.

The movie is really good too, one of Kristens best performances. Really worth a watch.

Anonymous said...

I first read Speak the summer before seventh grade. Never has a book, in turns, so touched me, so terrified me, so comforted me as much as Speak has. Years later, I'm now going to be a freshman in college, and my copy of Speak is like an old friend, worn out and dog-eared. This book changed my life. It made me wise throughout high school, taught me to be smart at parties, and also taught me compassion to everyone who seems clanless, because I know we've all been there. Thank you Laurie.

Anonymous said...

I bought the book, but kept the old one. The old, worn, tattered pages of the original Speak.
I ripped that poem from the pages of that new book. The anniversary edition,
I take that poem everywhere I go.
That poem is everything I feel.

Thank you, Laurie.
Honestly, thank you.

- Katelyn

Anonymous said...

I'm a middle school language arts teacher. After reading the book years ago, I made my then middle school age daughter read it. It is, to this day, one of my/our favorite books. "Me: Let me tell you about it." Speak is an incredible read. I recommend that every girl (and guy) read it. Our school library doesn't have very many copies, so I buy my own copies to share and they become worn and tattered from use. A true testament of a good book.

Anonymous said...

i've read the book a few times and seen the movie. i LOVE them both very much! i love how relatable and true it is to real life. i saw so much of melinda in me. from the ex-friends being cruel, clanlessness, evil teachers, right down to the lip-chewing! (turns out that kinda stuff can be heridetary--thanks mom) but most of all, i love that it deals with a topic that's more common than expected, but still very difficult to talk about. i had to deal with that to. i still am. i almost never talk. to anyone. but i finally got up the nerve to do so. and it's all thanks to SPEAK

Anonymous said...

i love this book with all my heart! i fall into the pages and let my real life melinda story drift away for a while and fall into melinda's world. the same thing happened to me but it was at the end of seventh grade. I am melinda. Thank you laurie!!! I love you!

Anonymous said...

i am in 8th grade and my class and i just finished reading this book. i was really touched and felt so bad for what Melinda had to go through. i can undrstand her and why she did not tell anyone. my best friend was rapped when she was small by her mothers boyfriend and when she told me i started to cry and i this still hurts her. when we were discusing the part of the rape i saw she wanted to cry. i just want to thank you laurie for writing this book and speaking up about what young girls and even boys go through. i know that this will change a lot of peoples life.

Tiff Tiff,.(: said...

This is so touching. As an 8th Grader it just helps understand how my cousin feels. It happened a year ago and everytime she cries i am right by her side. It hurts me even though it wasnt me. Yes,It Helps With Relationships but the part where melinda got raped just gave me flashbacks of what my cousin told me. I just want to thank you for writing speak.(: &thanks for encouraging others to stay strong.(:

nancy tamez said...

I really enjoyed reading this book I read it like 5 times and watched the movie about 10 times!!! (( it is a very emotional book&&movie)):) it is has sad and happy moments,,,,many people including me have been encouraged to speak about things because of this book!!! It is the best book that I have ever read...I'm happy you wrote it!!!

Anonymous said...

During the novel Melinda seems to be a typical teenager who goes with the crowd and really cares about her friends. As the book progresses her feelings start to get darker and people start to hate her, due to the cause of the incident at the party. While she goes through all of this Melinda tries to fit in. but everybody dislikes her. All of this are causes of her eagerness to be in a place alone, and a place where nobody else goes.
At the beginning of the book you find Melinda cutting herself in the closet. This is a place where nobody enters and where Melinda has time to spend alone. Throughout the novel everytime she gets home she enters this depression stage. Melinda has the urge of remembering what happened at the party that night. everytime she goes home she goes directly to this place I guess you can call her time alone without anybody judging her or making fun of her.
Another place where she usually escapes form her “school life” is her art class with Mr. Freeman. This is a place where she goes after she gets hit with the potatoes at lunch. Mr. Freeman is a person that makes Melinda speak her mind and understands everything she is going through. Melinda goes to this class a couple of times during her time at the cafeteria or a time when she gets in trouble. Everytime she goes she receives help from him. He also gave Melinda a ride which lets her get more confident with telling her what’s going on.
Next, is the janitor’s old closet. This has a lot o significance in the novel because it helps the reader understand the mood and the plot of the novel. Melinda escapes here to be alone and to skip some of her classes. In this “old room” she has most of her personality. She has a mirror that helps her reflect her sad and alone moments. She has the poster of a famous writer hanging in one of the walls. This is a good example of a place where Melinda turns into “her” place. In this scene Andy attempts to rape Melinda again, but isn’t successful. Finally, we have the hospital. Even though Melinda goes there only once during school hours, it gives you a sensation of loneliness and sadness. When she goes to the hospital Melinda concludes then nobody will notice her being there, in one of the hospital beds. And she is right, after she leaves this place Melinda starts to notice that she is pretty much alone in life.
In conclusion the reader would say this is one of the best books I have read so far. And I really thing the setting is what makes it be a really good novel. Each place she attends to has a big meaning in her life. In a way this places are alike but in many ways they are different. They help her in different ways but the benefit her to. And sincerely I would like more books like this to be written to entertain but also to inform the reader about issues like this going on in the whole world.

nancy tamez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have gone through the same as Melinda.
It is scary.
I read your poem.
It is truly sad.
To feel the pain,
that others have felt,
and that is only through literature.
I'm sorry for those who have gone through the same,
as Melinda,
and me have.
But i know that we are not alone,
have faith,
brave ones.
Open up and SPEAK.
Thank You Laurie.
(P.S:The book is great!)

Elysse Barrera said...

Sticky-note outcast
Elysse
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston Texas

In the bestselling book Speak, written by one of the best authors Laurie Halse Anderson, she writes about a young girl who was raped and didn’t speak about it. Melinda’s home life and relationship with her parents unfortunately served as a parallel to her dysfunctional year. Melinda felt that she couldn’t go to her parents and tell them what happened because they didn’t care enough about her so she felt the same at home and at school.
If Melinda’s parents would have cared more about her and showed it, they would have learned what happened to her a long time ago. Melinda would have spoken. Because her parents didn’t do that, this made Melinda’s year a whole lot worse. Mr. Freeman unlike everybody else actually cared was there for her, and she knew that that is why she was able to talk to him.
Melinda said “I bet they’d be divorced by now if I hadn’t been born” (70). On top of having been raped she also had to live with that. For crying out loud, they communicated through post-its! If they communicate through post-its of coarse she isn’t going to feel as if she could tell them she was raped! At school, nobody talks to Melinda except for the teachers of course and at home it is like the same. Her mom is a workaholic and both parents hardly pay any attention to her and that doesn’t help her situation any. Yes they do ask her “What’s wrong with you” (87) but that’s only because she received low grades.
Mr. Freeman generally cared about Melinda and told her “I think you have a lot to say. I’d like to hear it” (123). Her parents never told her that nor made her feel that way. He also helped her release her emotions into her art. All her parents want her to do is speak. They have no idea what she has gone through and are inconsiderate. In a meeting with the principal her mom said “she won’t say anything! I can’t get a word out of her. She’s mute” (114). This did not make Melinda’s year any better what so ever.
Melinda didn’t see her parents as caring or loving so she couldn’t tell them nor did she feel cared about at home. It’s important to remember that Melinda feels that her parents wouldn’t be together if it weren’t for her. Her home life and relationship with her parents didn’t help her with what she was going through at the time.

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

nancy tamez said...

Speaking the readers mind. Is it good or bad? It may lead to disaster, joy, emotion of being proud and sometimes even regret. Melinda goes through a tough time when at a summer party she gets raped and does tell anybody. Of course she could not tell her parents because it was only sticky notes with them. “We communicate with notes on the kitchen counter”. (pg. 14) Her life was hard.
Melinda started her freshman year as an outcast. She had no friends. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to sit with her at lunch. “I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, and the wrong attitude. And I don’t have anyone to sit with. I am outcast.” (pg. 4) She lived the rest of her life with the nightmare of it. Coming back to her head over and over again as she thought about that summer. That party. The one she would never forget.
When she finally had the nerve/gut to go up to Rachel to tell her what had happened. The reason why she had called the cops. Rachel snapped. Called her a liar. A jealous liar. Rachel said that Melinda just wanted attention. “You’re a twisted little freak and you’re jealous that I’m popular and I’m going to the prom and so you lie to me like this” (pg. 184) Melinda was probably right. It was probably better not to speak. Who would listen? Most people would not believe people like Melinda. “Me: [inside my head] would you listen? Would you believe me? Fat chance.” (pg. 114) Someone who has no friends. “No life and “no parents”.
At last when IT went up Melinda she defended herself. This time Melinda had fought back. She fought until she realized that it was time to speak up. Until other people realized what had actually happened that summer. Finally after everything she had gone through she had the chance the chance to talk to her parents and open up to them for the first time.
Sometimes it’s good when you have someone to talk too. In this book Mr. Freeman helps Melinda open up and talk about her problems and most importantly speak.”Me: Let me tell you about it.”(pg. 198)
The author is saying that speaking can have two sides. It can either lead to happiness or it can lead to regret. It is always important to share your secrets/problems with someone you trust. When you speak out you let voice be heard and show a different side of you that no one has ever known.

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Anonymous said...

Speaking up and telling someone you were raped, its hard.
Publishing it out to the public.... is harder.
I have chosen to Speak Up About Speak.
As an 8th grader, the pain has dimmed down.
I was very young when it happened.
It was my mommy's boyfriend. Soon ex-husband.
I didnt know what to do. I was what 5, 6, 7?
Yes.
It was over a continuation of years.
He abused my mother, and he told me that if i didnt scream he would stop hitting her.
And sometimes when I wanted to scream he would place a sock in my mouth and tie a bandanna over it to prevent me from making a sound.
I tear up just by thinking about it.
The worst part is that he affected not only me...my sister.
He was an alcoholic.
Drug-addict.
A sick man.
Stupid.
Stupid.
Stupid.
If I wouldve known what he was doing to my sister, I, I, I... I was too young.
I wouldnt know what to do,
Sure I've cried many many times.
Many of my friends know the story.
I can definitely relate.
Reading about Melinda being raped, it tore my heart.
"He hurt me, hurt me, hurt me."
Words cannot explain the feeling.
Thoughts of suicide come.
Hatred to the world.
Loss of trust.
Its all in your head.
And its something that wont go away.
Its tattooed. Permanent.
I try to be happy at school.
But I find it hard to trust some people.
Sometimes, I feel like I just want to tell everyone.
But I'm scared.
What if they treat me differently?
My friends are truly amazing.
I dont want them to go away because of my secret.
My English teacher knows, But thats because I decided to tell him.
Its confusing.
I was raped.
But I'm chosing to be brave and Speak Up.
Thanks again Laurie.
Houston, Texas

nancy tamez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samantha Silva said...

Has a reader ever had a place where they felt safe and comfortable? Well Melinda has. The old janitor’s closet is like a place where she is who she is, is a place to hang out and a private place. She never even minds cleaning it. She's actually happy (but doesn't show it) she found a place to hang out.
Many teenagers now in days hang out with friends or just spend time with their family. Not with Melinda though. She used to be that girl that always had a group of friends and would pay attention in class. But since that night she wasn't herself. So she stayed with no friends and not great communication with family, she hangs out in the closet. Melinda is very independent.
Melinda is a girl who has changed from a party to school now. She doesn't express her feelings at all and doesn't really speak. By this being a private area that someone abandoned and doesn't pay attention to it... she likes it.”This closet is an abandoned….. It has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me” (pg. 26) Melinda feels that the closet is a place to keep all her thoughts inside her head. It’s like if she's speaking through the closet, many people don't have that.
Also by this being a private and alone space its better for Melinda. She gets to be there all day and no one would know. Melinda would never get disturbed when she's doing something there. She also would just speak from her mind. Melinda didn't bother of putting extra time to clean it just so that she can have a place where no one would find her.
My overall purpose or idea about this is that many teenagers have different ways of hanging out. Especially Melinda, when she is usually alone she decides to go hang out in her closet. She also spent her time to make it a comfortable space for her. Every time something gets rough or she starts to remember the party that's one of the places shell go to try to forget it. Also when teachers or students are just looking for her she finds, like if it’s a hiding spot for here.

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Anonymous said...

How does Melinda's homelife and relationship with her parents serve as a parallel to her dysfunctional year? Well this reader might think that Melinda's life its pretty bad, horrible, awful or just simply normal. But after reading "Speak" we all now that simply normal does not sound right. Melinda Sordino ruin her summer party by calling the cops, so than her old freinds dint talk to her in school and she end up being by herself with no one to share a lughfter. Plus she got raped the same day of the party, that defently ruined her life. Worst of all she dint have no one to tell and get all her anger out, not even her own family!
How do you communicate in your life with your parents? Melinda replies. "We communicate with notes on the kitchen counter". (pg.14) This reader thinks that communicating with notes is not even a communication. Melinda asks for everything in that little small sticky note but does not ever ask to talk with her mother or father, so she just keeps everything inside of her. One time she even went to the counselor and her mother got in a fight with the lady that in the end they dint help Melinda very well. There's was another time when she was sitting down in the table and they were eating breakfeast so than Melinda's mom saw her arm wrist and dint even bother to ask what happened she just said "I don't have time for this, Melinda". (pg.88) This reader think that everything her mother is doing is not really helping her. She dont even communicate at all that one day she talked to her mother and she even tought she was sick "You must be sick. You're talking". (pg.163) Well as the reader sees that there is not that much of communication between Melinda and the parents is not very well. The reader needs to know that the not vey well communication between parents and daughter is affecting the communication between Melinda and her friends. Why does this reader thinks that? Well, because she not talking to none of her parents about what happened in the party made her not be able to speak to anyone else about anything. She even has her closet that no one knows and nobody can bother her there. She has no friends. She sits by herself in luncg, has no one to walk the hallways, and worst of all has one to talk to and just speak and speak. After she goes thrue a lot she gets the reaction to speak everything up all thoe it does not come out the right way. Ivy thinks that she is just lying about that raping thing and does not even want to talk to her. They really leave her by herself with no one! Tries to talk but is not whorth it at all.
Towars the end everything changes. Especially her life! Her, giving herself a chance to speak up gave her the opportunity to have her friends back and plus her parents. Her old friends from middle school talk to her again, her mother and her father react and noticed that Melinda need it there help. Best of all she got to talk to Mr.Freeman about her tree and had a great connection with art. This reader thinks that Melinda's homelife and relationship with her parents serve alot to her dysfunctional year. But of course at the end everything got fix up. And just because she SPEAK up!

Anonymous said...

I had to read this in my english class last year. I found it really hard to get through. I don't know if it was God's way of telling me I needed to speak up, but we read it right after the same thing happened to me that happened to Melinda. He is in jail now. and he can never hurt me again. So thank you, because this book helped make that happen.

Isis Garcia said...

Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas
Isis.

Melinda and the Beast: The Development of a Monster

Andy Evans. Andy Beast. IT. IT is a monster.
Throughout the book, Andy Evans is not introduced right away. The only way the reader learns about him is through Melinda’s dark memories, flashbacks and brief but scary encounters at Merryweather High. On Melinda’s first day at Merryweather High, she only tells the reader about how much everyone hates her and how she no longer has any best friends. “I am Outcast.”(pg 4.) It is not until later on in the book when we start untangling this mystery that is Melinda and Andy and start putting the pieces together of the dreadful night of the party. Andy is said to be popular, a monster, and dangerous according to Melinda and other girls at Merryweather High.

When is Andy first introduced into the story? Well in the hallway when she sees IT, is IT Andy? We know for sure that IT isn’t a good person by the nickname that she has given IT. When Melinda starts telling the reader about the night of the party and how she was raped, it all starts to make sense. IT is Andy Evans. Melinda describes him as a popular guy that hangs out with some cheerleaders and soon even becomes boyfriend of her ex-best friend Rachel or “Rachelle”. But Melinda doesn’t want Rachelle to be going out with him because of what happened to her. Of course Melinda knows that Andy is no good. He raped her! What kind of MONSTER would put anyone through anything like that?

“Andy Evans should be locked up.” In the book, when Melinda writes her opinion about Andy Evans in the bathroom stall door, she soon finds out that she is not alone about her Andy Evans perspective. Many other girls wrote various negative things about him. One girl even wrote about her experience at the movies with him and how he tried to go down her pants! Andy Evans certainly goes from a person that doesn’t seem that important in the story, to the main conflict.

Andy Evans character seems to be dangerous, popular, and a monster according to many of the perspectives of those girls at Merryweather High. Andy Evans is a monster. Raping a girl is no joke, it could become an emotional scar for the rest of her life. The character of Andy Evans develops slowly yet negatively throughout the story which makes the book incredibly interesting and inspiring!

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Anonymous said...

Max
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, TX

Burrow, Sanctuary, Escape

Escape. When someone says escape, we usually think of escaping from prison or criminals escaping from the police. It has sort of taken on a negative connotation. However, everyone has escapes. The way that the world we live in is now, everyone needs a place to get away from it all, a place to unwind and relax, even if that place is “an old janitor’s closet that smells like sour sponges”(25). Relating to Speak, Melinda’s escapes are important to her because she lives such a stressful, crazy life.
Melinda’s first defined escape and her favorite is the closet. When she discovers it, it is an old, run-down closet with nothing except cleaning supplies. But when she finishes with it, it has decorations like a poster of Maya Angelou. I believe the reason she likes her closet so much is because she can relate to the closet. It is lonely and forgotten, much like Melinda. According to her, “This closet is abandoned-it has no purpose, no name .It is the perfect place for me.”(26) Melinda definitely thinks of this place as a place to get away from the world, as she says “I want to leave, transfer, warp to another galaxy.”(51)
Like stated earlier, Melinda enjoys her closet because it she can relate to it. This is almost always true of special places that we have. If a person is very upbeat and preppy, they will most certainly not be happy in a closet like Melinda’s. This is a common theme among all of Melinda’s hideouts or escapes.
The other big escape that Melinda has is art class. This is unique because it is an escape from school, even thought it is a class. This can be possible because it is the only class that she actually enjoys and feels safe in. She particularly enjoys this class because she fells what Mr. Freeman feels. Mr. Freeman is a great teacher with some extraordinary things he needs to share, but nobody wants to listen and the school puts him in the back of priorities, like when the school board cuts his budget in half. Melinda does go through a period where she hates Mr. Freeman’s class, saying “I don’t belong in Mr. Freeman’s room any more than I belong in the Marthas or in my little-girl pink bedroom.”(152-153) However, We know she considers Mr. Freeman’s class an escape because she calls it a “Sanctuary” on page nine. She also likes Mr. Freeman’s class because Mr. Freeman understands her. After she turns in a basic tree sketch for her final project, Mr. Freeman sympathizes with her and rewards her, saying “You get an A+. You’ve worked hard on this.”(198)
There, of course, are detrimental results to Melinda’s escapes. The biggest one is that she shuts herself off from the rest of the school when she should be talking and spreading the news. But like all of our hideouts, we go to them when we feel like shutting ourselves off, even if it is not the best thing to do. Like stated earlier, Melinda’s hideouts are important to her because she needs to get away from the stress of life. We all need to.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

MelissaGonzales said...

ELA 8-2
Melissa Gonzales 2/23/10
Speak Essay
Not heard. Not noticed. Why don’t you speak up? Heard. Noticed. Why not speak up? Everyday teens are not speaking up due to the fact that something has hurt them so much that puts them on mute. Teens should speak up because if they did they would be heard, be noticed, and they wouldn’t have to feel as if they are an alien looking for a way through this messed up planet. As for if they don’t speak out then they wouldn’t be heard, they wouldn’t be noticed, and they would feel like if they don’t belong on this planet.
Nowadays teens speak up but most don’t. There are many advantages and disadvantages to speaking and not speaking up. A good example of not speaking up would be from the book Speak, that would be when Melinda doesn’t tell anyone about what happened to her at the party, because she didn’t speak up, everyone she once talked to didn’t talk to her anymore and things suddenly became a challenge for her (page 4). Now towards the end of the novel Speak, Melinda speaks up and tells one of her old best friends about the rape because she doesn’t want the same thing to happen to her since she is with the person that raped her (page 183). Now another disadvantage about teens speaking up is how the person would react and if they believe you. When Melinda spoke up, it was good because people now talked to her and understood why she was the way she is, so that’s one importance of why teens should speak up.
Sometimes teenagers would get noticed if they speak or don’t speak. If you don’t speak then people will notice you because of the way you look and how you act (page 184). Now if you do speak then people would notice you by what happened and because you had the courage to speak up, you made your voice heard. In the book some people noticed Melinda because she was the one who sat by herself, the one who people thought was weird, and the one who didn’t talk (page 45). See you could be noticed from things that aren’t you or your personality. She then got noticed at the end of the novel because people now knew what happened to her and because she spoke up and told someone.
If something so horrible happened to a teenager and they didn’t speak up then they would probably feel like if they are an alien on this blue and green planet. They would probably feel like that because they would feel as if everything around them would want to hurt him or her (page 159) for no reason and plus it would be one thing that he or she wouldn’t be able to erase from his or her mind. So it is good to speak about it because then you wouldn’t feel like that because if that one person that you told didn’t hurt you then what would make you think that something else would want to hurt you? Just like Melinda, she wasn’t afraid to speak about it anymore, she wasn’t afraid of anything (page 198). She overcame it by speaking out.
So in my opinion teens should speak up because there are many reasons to why they should speak up. Plus it’s bad not to speak up because all that anger or sadness will build up and it will cause that person to do something. Also, the author might be trying to tell us (the teens) to speak out and not to hold in anything because anything that you hold in can and will hurt you and the ones around you.
Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Ana Acosta said...

Ana
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston,Tx
Different Outsides, Same Insides

Everyone has a place where they go whenever they have feelings ripping up their inside. That is exactly what Melinda does in the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. She has three different places she goes to when she is not feeling good inside. In particular, to Melinda Sordino, these places help her with the emotions she is feeling inside.
The main place Melinda goes to is the old, abandoned janitor’s closet. She mainly goes there whenever she wants to get away from everyone and just think about the things that are mostly bothering her. Also, she can relate to the closet because stuff in there reminds her of her life and she feels “accepted” in there. “This closet is abandoned- it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me.” (26).
Whenever she wants to express herself and just be alone, she goes to the art room, Mr. Freeman’s room. She works on her tree and giving it “emotion” and just tries to get away from everything that is going on. She also feels more secure around Mr. Freeman and shows that being around him she can express herself without being judged. “All right, but you said we had to put emotion into our art. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel. My fingers fly up and cover my mouth. What am I doing?” (122).
Melinda goes bike riding and stops at the barn where everything occurred. She goes there to try to find a way on how she can forget everything that happened and just take it out of her past. She wants to start over and become a new Melinda, grow a new seed. “So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears? I dig my fingers into the dirt and squeeze. A small, clean part of me waits to warm and burst through the surface. Some quiet Melindagirl I haven’t seen in months. That is the seed I will care for.” (188-189). Going to this place really helps Melinda on starting over and letting herself SPEAK.
In conclusion, Melinda tries to let out everything she has inside in places where most people would not go, but for her they are the most stress free places where she knows she can be alone and think about her problems. Always remember that for her it is difficult to let her painful feelings come out and that she feels the comfortable letting everything she has bottled inside out and trying to resolve them by herself.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Tiffany Freeman said...

speak essay
tiffany freeman
2/23/10

SPEAK ON SPEAK! :)
Speak is a good book by Laurie Halse Anderson. Paper after paper, the only communication used by Melinda and her parents. Mel’s home life had a big effect on her crazy, messed up 9th grade year, especially since she wouldn’t speak up about Andy raping her at the party. Life was hard for her but as she kept going and thinking about her and what she needs to do next it got easier for her step by step.
The interim reports came out and her parents were having a serious talk to Melinda about grades. She couldn’t talk because her mom and dad were yelling, giving Mel a lecture. Her mom said, “Thought you could pull one over us, did you, dear? Big High School student now, don’t need to show us your homework or failing test grades” (35). She was a victim a very scared or horrified victim. She was a good student. What could be the cause of her failing grades? Could it be her home life or what happened that night at the party? Or maybe that people are making fun of her because she called the cops instead of talking to her friends about it first.
Melinda Sordino’s home life is a part of her and when something goes wrong in a child’s life they bring it to school, so it becomes a school problem too. Many students have a lot of stress with drama, pure pressure, friends, and boyfriends or girlfriends. Melinda’s school problems are part of the fact that her family never talks except for when they write what they have to say on sticky notes. Mel has a lot going on as a freshman due to the summer party and what had happened that night. To her it was a very frightening moment and it hurts her in so many ways because she has flashbacks in most things she does. She never told anyone about it because she doesn’t know what will happen if she speaks up. She’s scared! What would happen if she told the wrong person? Would that person go and mix up what she said? Will Melinda make the right decision?
Due to the dysfunctional year, Melinda pretended to be sick one day because school was going bad for her. Therefore, Melinda and her mom ended up having a conversation for once. They were talking when it was close to Mel having to be getting ready to catch the bus. As her mom saw her lying in bed not looking like she felt good and asked her if she felt alright but Mel replied with a simple no. Her mom does the same thing with her friend when they want to have a girl’s day out. Melinda sat on the couch watching TV and eating. Her dad arrived home when she fixed up the living room and ran upstairs. Everything was back to normal. If school was bad like how Melinda was being treated, would you do the same thing?
As school got harder and harder she stuck through it. She never backed down from anyone. Melinda Sordino stayed strong and when she finally spoke up and told the truth she became popular. She was known by many people and they were proud of her for what Rachel/Rachelle accused her of being a jealous liar for. Melinda got through her freshman year and fulfilled becoming popular. Wouldn’t you speak up just to make sure your best friend doesn’t go through what happened to you or even get hurt? Most people would. :)

PCMS said...

William Nolasquez, 2/23/10
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston,Tx
“From Darkness to Light”


I think that Melinda Sordino`s life reflects as a tree. And now u might be asking how or why well because the roots of the tree are her dark, and top secrets she hides from every one in Merry Weather High. And the leaves and the branches at the top of the tree are like times she has felt in good time or stuff that she doesn’t regret for having or doing!
Some branches or leafs in her life is as in the beginning of the novel she is hated but in the bus, first day of school, she meets this weird unusual person called Heather. She is at least glad that hangs out with her because Melinda doesn’t want to be seen as outcast. Her and Heather join the Martha’s. Is a group of people in Merry Weather just like the jocks etc. All of her ex-friends don’t like her no more just because she made a bad decision in a summer party. One thing that Melinda really likes about Merry Weather is that art class is just like her sanctuary a class where she can express her inner and outer feelings in art class with Mr. Freeman. Her and Mr. Freeman mostly communicate by art than by words. Like in the left over`s of the turkey on Thanksgiving Day that her mom messed up she took (the bones from the turkey) them to Mr. Freeman’s class the next day! By Melinda constructing something that would express her, Mr. Freeman tried to read what the art piece tried to say/mean to Melinda.
The bad thing about Melinda’s family’s relationship is that they communicate by post it notes in the refrigerator. Even dough their parents’ only child is, Melinda, there is no way that their parents spend time with her or just together as a family. That’s something that bothers Melinda that’s one of the other reasons that Melinda is quiet other than her secret from the summer. One of her roots from Melinda (darkest secrets) is her secret of the summer. Andy Evans. Raped. Speechless. Melinda. Sad. Ruined her life. Hated for calling the cops in the party. Andy Evans and her kind of became boyfriend and girlfriend in the party. But Andy Evans took it to far and raped her in the woods. Which she ended up calling the cops people got arrested for it. Even dough Melinda was dozed and drunk she got run away from the cops. At the end of the book Melinda became popular, because she speaks up to her top secret. She confronted her monster (IT) in her closet (Life). Now Andy Evans looks like an outcast an Melinda becomes the hero of the century. So that why I think that Melinda’s life is reflected as a tree in the novel. That’s why Mr. Freeman gave her a tree so she could only understand her self.


-William Nolasquez

Anonymous said...

Speak


In the book “Speak” Melinda describes where she goes to escape her self and others in school or at home. Melinda has many places were she can be herself. That’s her room in general, her closet, the old abandon janitor’s closet, and the restroom. By Melinda escaping to her places were she is her own personal journal, it leads to some benefits, detrimental effects, and there are some similarities and differences.
The benefits of Melinda avoiding school are that she takes out her anger, fears, or even getting out of trouble. By accomplishing this she doesn’t have tell her feelings to someone else, as where she can let it out. Another benefit is when she is hiding in the restroom to check if the principal is around. This happens on page 17 in the book. The old janitor closet becomes a place where Melinda goes to relax or express because no one steps foot in there.
Some detrimental effects are the way Melinda acts around others, such as: mom, dad, Heather, Andy, and Rachell. Around Heather she mainly acts depressed or as if she has no interest in anything. The effects are shown with her mom and dad when she is failing her classes for Mr. Neck. Other effects are when she cuts herself in the begging of the story.
Melinda’s places were she goes are similar because she can be true to herself and have free expression. Where every she chooses to go, she seems to get a lot out of thinking to herself and letting out what’s bothering her. The only differences between the places are the surroundings. The thing that matters are getting out what she wants as in relieving herself. This book was great because it motivates others to read it and teaches teens about different characters in high school.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak

In everybody’s life there’s always a certain place where they can go to avoid a certain situation, such as a job, school, etc or you just feel comfortable been there because it describes how you feel. Well Melinda has places she goes to avoid school. Melinda avoids being in school by going to places such as the janitor’s closet she found at her school and the hospital she went to hang out once. Melinda goes to the janitor’s closet and the hospital because she feels that she fits in, it describes her right now (her feelings), and because she feels it’s the perfect place to kill time.
The places that Melinda goes are similar, because they’re both kind of scary, quiet, and they both, somehow represent sadness. The hospital and the janitor’s closet symbolize quietness because you hardly hear any noise there; they hardly talk, well not at least loudly. Anyways, the hospital symbolizes sadness and scariness because in there, people don’t make it alive, which means there has been a lost for someone, and that is something sad to handle, because you wouldn’t want someone to die. The janitor’s closet symbolizes sadness and scariness because it’s lonely, unnoticeable, and abandoned. How scary is that?
The benefits that these two places have are that it makes her fit in, it describes her feelings, and it’s the perfect place at school to kill time, because it’s unnoticeable. Like how Melinda describes the closet “This closet is abandoned-it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me” (26). What this is trying to say is that she feels comfortable there, because she fits in physically and emotionally, it represents her and her feelings. Now the hospital, although Melinda only went to Lady of Mercy hospital only once, it’s still consider a place where she went to avoid school. In page 111, it states that Melinda loved that place. Why? Because right away she felt like she fitted in, not physically but emotionally, she is sick, just like the patience’s; it’s the perfect place to stay, but for a while.
The janitor’s closet did have some couple of effects, and one of them was when Melinda left the closet’s door open, and Andy Evans almost raped her again. But Melinda (my hero) didn’t let it happen. All of that was a cause made because of the closet. The hospital didn’t really have any effects because Melinda was unnoticeable there, which didn’t caused any problems.
It is to say that everyone has a place to go to avoid another place or situation. Just like Melinda, she avoids school by going to the janitor’s closet and the hospital. She believes that those places are perfect because she fits in quickly and it describes her feelings perfectly. Don’t you think so? Because me as the reader, think that Melinda goes to the janitor’s closet and to the hospital because it represents something part of her.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin
Books, 1999.

Anonymous said...

The author writes Speak in a way that makes the reader understandthe conflict.The reader can come up with questionsduring the reading, like, does melinda's relationship with her parnts affect her life? Melinda's homelife does play a important role in her dysfunctional year.
On the chapter called "A night to remember" on page 136, Melinda explains how no one is home when she gets back from the party. This is important because if someone was home, then she would have probablt talked to her parents about it. Since no one is present, she was left alone trying too figure out what happened.
Melinda thinks she gets no attention from her parents. She does get attention. "Well something is wrong. What have you done to her? I had a sweet, loving little girl last year, but as siin as she comes up here,she clams up, skips school, and flushesher grades down the toilet" (114). Her parents do care about her.
The communication is bad. They just pass sticky notes and how will Melinda learn to speak to her parents if the communicate through notes? She feel invisible yo them. "By the time dad unlocks the door, everything looks the way hewants to see it, and i have vanished" (15).
The parents worry about Melinda and how she is doing in the school year. The reader should notice that none of her parents asks her how she is doing in school. "She has figured out that i dont say too much. It bugs her" (88). Everything is parallel to Melinda's life. She needs attention and she is just not used to communicating anymore. When she sees a counselor, she cant say what happened due to the fact that she has not even told her own parents that she got raped. The more she rebels, it makes it easier for her to deal with the pain. The memories she has with the tree and her dad, were happy moments she wants again. She wants her family normal again. THey are just a part of her personal life.
Anderson, Laurie Halse, Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Isaiah Aguilar said...

Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas
Isaiah

Art: The new prescription

“Welcome to the journey” (p.12). This was the beginning of art class. But little did Melinda know that that was her new beginning. Feeling annoyed by her different art teacher, Melinda slowly figures out that this is her new therapist. Melinda Sordino, the silent main character in the novel Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson. Art has an impact and can change someone’s true emotions, ideas, feelings, and their life as a whole.
Art and even artists relate to Melinda’s feelings and thoughts. For example Picasso, “Dicing bodies and tables and guitars as if they were celery sticks, and rearranged them so that you have to really see them. Amazing. What did the world look like to him” (118). Picasso’s art consisted or different types of shapes and figures, he saw the world chopped up and saw it differently then we did. Melinda feels different also; she sees in her own way, she sees like Picasso.
Melinda doesn’t speak much to anyone, or thinks of speaking to anyone. She says a little too much (or at least that’s what she thinks) to her ART teacher about how she can improve and what art feels like. “All right, but you said we had to put emotion into our art. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what I'm supposed to feel.” My fingers fly up and cover my mouth. What am I doing” (p.122). This is probably the most Melinda has ever spoken to anybody, and is shocked from it.
Melinda has really worked hard on her Art project. More than anything she has done the whole year. “You get an A+. You worked hard at this.” (p.198) Melinda’s art project was a tree, she feels like she can grow from her issues, leave them behind and move on. Just like a tree, just like her art project.
Melinda’s art keeps her from keeping her “secrets” and emotions trapped inside her mind, torturing her. It is her only way to communicate and relieve of her pain by not saying anything, but showing it through art. Melinda releases her emotion not by speaking, but by picture and detail…”art”.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999

Javier Cruz said...

Javier Cruz
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, TX
Speak essay
Speaking
As a “rebellious teen” we think we have the freedom to speak but with this right comes very great responsibility. With this comes great power to me I would speak my mind anyway possible but some times all it gets me is trouble. I see it that all should speak there mind to voice there opinion no matter what happens. In the position of Melinda to speak up was great but when refusing to speak up when needed got her in trouble. To see a character that speaks his mind like David shows that you must be careful how you speak or when to keep speaking or when to be silent.
In what I see is that to speak up is the best to stand up for what’s right to voice your opinion but sometimes it to much but to be voiceless is much worse to not say anything then your never heard. You have no voice to speak out to say what is right or wrong but no matter what happens everyone should speak up to see the outcome if it’s for better or worse but this is what makes us human. To be wrong or right and to learn from your mistake. As I saw Melinda grow as a character she never spoke and it ate at her every moment knowing she was raped she should have talked to someone because I have seen girls who have never told anyone and killed them inside and they could not take it and killed themselves. She should have spoke and everyone should have a voice to speak up for the righteous and defeat the evil. With the power to speak gives us the world gives us life and gives us what makes us the people we are.
Well when I was small I remember I would talk so much that my family would always tell me to shut up. As I grew up now I see that I can turn words into a powerful weapon but wielding the power also comes knowing to clash against the challenges we face in life with this words. I choice to live my life speaking but I can see why it is good to keep quite to remind silent. For the better of the people they stay voiceless to live a life where they think they can get away from the problems they face. As Melinda stays silent she sees that all it cause is pain but also causes more problems for her and when speaking up she became a better person inside and outside.
Like I said with the power to speak comes responsibility but also being speechless gives us less voice I am never heard. Well I see everyone should speak there mind no matter what words are a powerful tool I would use them. Just never stay silent never let your voice be taken or life will never be the same. I say to all and no matter what in one word to sum all this up. SPEAK.



Anderson,Laurie,Halse,Speak,New york,Puffin books,1999.

Anonymous said...

Yossellin
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Tx

Trust No One Who Speaks

In the novel Speak we learn many interesting facts and ideas about highschool and teeanage life in general. A major topic or idea in this novel is trust. Young adults are learing at this age that trust can either destroy your life or strenghten it. Being able to trust and speak to a certain someone definetly strenghten your life because your emotions are not "bottled up", the person the reader decided to trust might be able to help them out, and it makes it easier to keep the teenager's mind out of the situation or memory. Keeping problems or frustrations "bottled up" might result in deadly or harmfull solutions. For example in the novel Speak Melinda's grade frustrations and the painfull incident result in her trying to cut herself with a paperclip(87). Melinda is hated by everyone in her school because of her not being able to trust her "friends" and calling the police.Many teenagers at this age start losing trust in friends and family. This novel helps the reader understand that most of the time trusting someone is the best solution.

Another reason trusting someone is helpfull is that, theres a probablity the person the teenager is trusting might be able to help them out. Speak contradicts this statement on page 184 were Melinda decides to trust her "friend" hoping it would help her out, but her "friend" calls her a LIAR and leaves the library. This novel also belives this statement is true. For example in page 197 when everyone at school finds out that Andy Evans rapped Melinda teachers and students are there to help her and finally understand why she wasn't speaking. Melinda decided to trust her "friend" because she was afraid Andy would hurt Heather. In the reader's point of view teenagers and adults should only trust the people who can and will trust them back.

Trust is something that should not be taken lightly. In the novel Speak Melinda Sordino trusted Andy Evans to not hurt her and thinks of him as a hot, amazing guy. Melinda trusted thid guy without really knowing him. Trusting someone is something that should be done but with a lot of thought and pre-caution. If the reader starts to trust a friend or family memeber with the problem it might be easier to take it of their mind. For example a friend might take her (Melinda) out or do activities that take her mind out of the rape. A family memeber or friend can also watch what they say, so it would be less posible for a certain word or phrase to bring back the situation.

In conclusion the novel Speak is great for teaching teenagers or anyone else that trust is a great way to set your mind free and clense your spirit.

Anonymous said...

Veronica Martinez said...
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas
Veronica Martinez .

The developement of Melinda's art reflects with her healing and recovering. As the reader can tell that the dirt and the roots are in the dark part, well that tells the audience that bad things happened. But then from the dirt to the top of the tree their is light and that shows the audience that she is recovering.
One of the worsest things that happened to her were that she got raped by Andy, "crimping my hair and gluing on fake nails, and he smells like beer and mean and he hurts me hurts me hurts me and gets up." (pg.135). This reader thinks that's the worsest becuase that memory will stay with you for your whole life. The second worst thing that happened to her was that no one liked her, "As we leave the bus stop, I am the only person sitting alone." (pg.3), "I knew you were trouble the first time I saw you." (pg.9). This reader thinks that worst becuase no talks to her and is the first day of school and one of the teachers doesnt like her and he doesnt even know her. All this is between the dirt and the tips of the roots.
Here Melinda is just berly recovering. Things that hapened when she is recovering was that Rachelle doesnt talk to her. "Me: How is it going? - Rachelle: Eehn."(pg.21) heather stoped talkin to her. "Heather: we... just... are... are... very... diffrent. -Me: You mean we're not friends anymore?"(pg.105). Another part of her recovery was that Melinda puts a fact in the restroom door, "GUYS TO STAY AWAY FROM Andy Evans."(pg.185). This is part of her recovery becuase it shows Melinda things that she doesnt need in her life it like kinda opened her eyes. And all this fits between the dirt and the grass.
Major things that made her recover was when she skiped school, "The first hour of blowing off school is great. No one to tell me what to do, what to read, what to say."(pg.97). This helped her recover by showig her the diffrence the outter world is with her world. "This closet is abandoned- It has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me." (pg.26). This qoute just shows the main character how her life is and wen her life changes the closet has something new to it. The major thing that helped her alot was that some girls actually didnt like Andy Evans,"He's a creep - He's a bastard - Stay away!!!! - He shouldd be locked up - He thinks he's all that - Call the cops...." (pg.185-186).
Fom the dark side to the bright side. It always has it's ways turns out good. So when the tree grew she changed and didnt stay quiet.
Aderson, Laurie Halse, Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999

elias valdez said...

Hi.

Anonymous said...

Laurie,
I read this book in one night. I can't explain how I feel. I feel better. No words to describe your writing. Laurie thank you! I feel so free. The next night watch to whole movie. Cried myself to sleep. thank you Laurie, thank you! I would LOVE if you could email me back. You changed my life Laurie, you really did!

rollergirlsydney217@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Yvette
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston,Tx

Escape the World


The book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a very descriptive book that describes personal issues that a young girl named Melinda is going through. Speak is perfect for teenagers and young adults because it talks about many problems that any teenager can face. In various sections of the story Melinda tries to hide away from her problems so she goes to different places. Everybody has a place where they can be closed from the world. A place where they can just be alone and release their feelings without being judged.

One of Melinda’s places is the closet. Not any old random closet but an abandoned, useless janitor’s closet. This is Melinda’s “escape” from everything. Melinda uses this place to get away from all of the issues going on because that’s her place. My closet is a good thing, a quiet place that helps me hold these thoughts inside my head where no one can hear them. (51) She can express herself however she wants. It represents her in everyway possible it has no use, isn’t claimed or anything it’s just their. This closet is abandoned-it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me. (26)

Another place Melinda has that she uses mostly to express herself is Mr. Freeman’s room (the art teacher.) She can go their just to ease and unwind from her day also to work on her tree. Mr. Freeman is not like the teacher Mr. Neck he is more considerate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Art is about making mistakes and learning from them. (122) Even though this place doesn’t really belong to her she can still go their knowing nobody will judge her no matter what she does. This place benefits Melinda a lot because it not only is a place for her to “escape” but at the same time she also has someone to talk too. Melinda did trust Mr. Freeman a lot that was the only reason she liked to go their or else she could’ve just stayed in her closet. Melinda trusts him so much that she was going to tell him about the rape. (198)

All in all, Melinda does have several places she goes to just be closed from the world and think about her emotions. These times when she’s away “mentally” from everything really does help her a lot. The way it helps her is that it gives her the time she needs for herself. Everybody needs time just to reflect on what they have been doing. That’s exactly what Melinda does in the story. Except she probably does it more often and does it to hide from her issues. Without these places Melinda would’ve had a harder time.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Brenda Ovalle said...

Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas
Brenda Alejandra Ovalle


Andy Evans. The “IT” person. Melinda has had a past with this person. For her it destroyed most of her life, she had no friends by the beginning of 9th grade; everybody in the school hated her for calling the cops that night at the party. Melinda has a hard time deciding between telling somebody she doesn’t know if to tell her parent, one of her ex-friends or just somebody that doesn’t even know her. At a short period of time Melinda notices that one of her best ex-friends is going out with him.
Melinda is scared that he might want to hurt her. Andy in so different compared to the movie, expressed in the book he is mostly self center and always bothering Melinda and in the movie he actually shows that he cares about her in the way that he defends her against the Martha’s a group which Heather joined. Melinda once wrote on the restroom about Andy Evans and she saw that there were other girls like her that didn’t like him at all. You never know how many other girls like Melinda have passed through the same experience.


Andy Evans in the book starts as the nice cute guy that supposedly got in love with Melinda but all he wanted was to rape her! Then to her she knows that he is not the one that he appears to be just like any other girl noticed. Andy Evans is discovered by who he really is and not the popular, hottie guy that they thought he was.

This character has impact in this story. I could even say that after Melinda the main character he will be next one because its such the Impact he gives on Melinda and other girls that the hole story is about that and how at the end those girls win by everybody knowing who he really is. This is what proofs everything of Andy Evans (”Beast: “You’re not going to scream. You didn’t scream before. You liked it. You’re jealous that I took out your friend and not you. I think I know what you want”)

Over the time we have seen that the Andy Evans that everybody thought he was started decreasing in a way that everybody hated him at the end. The book ended really well! Everybody ended discovering how Andy Evans really is and that really helped other girls like Melinda to talk because if it was later you never know what the girls could have done to themselves like to commit suicide, cutting their arms, do drugs or just kill them selves. Melinda could had been one of them but thanks to Mr. Freeman she “speak”.

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Issa said...

Issa
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston,Texas

Anonymous said...

Issa
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas

Nothing Is Ever What It Seems


Speak. Written by Laurie Halse Anderson. Teachers in this book play a very important role whether they helped Melinda or just didn't help her at all. Sometimes teachers are way better friends when it comes down to things like what Melinda went through or simply showing how the student feels towards other things, and they may not trust some teachers and other teachers they might without even knowing it.
In this book includes the teachers in so many ways, one of the teachers that really gained Melinda's trust was Mr. Freeman. He was also the first teacher to get Melinda to talk. Mr Freeman was actually a very liked teacher by all of his students but for himself it seemed that Melinda and Ivy were two of his favorite students. Although other teachers such as Mr. Neck , the Spanish teacher, and Hairwoman didn't really helped Melinda grow at all or gain trust of her in any way. Especially Mr. Neck, Mr. Neck the social studies teacher, Melinda never liked him since the first day of school when he stopped her in the hall and gave her detention for being seven minutes late to class.
The first day of school when she had art she called it her sanctuary. A question that might always be asked why, why did she called it sanctuary? If its just a room with painting all around. A quote from the book that proves that Melinda starts to trust Mr. Freeman is, “ Me: Alright,but you said we had to put emotion into our art. I don't know what I'm supposed to feel. My fingers fly up and cover my mouth. What am I doing?”(122). This quote actually is trying to say that she is getting comfortable with talking to him but she doesn't want that to happen. Another quote that states the same thing about Mr. Freeman is,”Me: Do you have any twigs? Little branches? I could use them to make the arms” (64).
One quote from the book that states that Melinda and other students don't like Mr. Neck is,” David: You opened a debate. You cant close it just because its not going your way....Sit your butt in that chair, Petrakis, and watch your mouth!...David Stares at Mr. Neck, looks at the flag for a minute, then picks up his books and walks out of the room. He says a million words without saying a word. I make a note to study David Petrakis. I have never heard a more eloquent silence”(56-57). Another quote in the book that states the same thing is the following, “ There is no way I 'm presenting my suffragette report in front of the class. That wasn't part of the original assignment. Mr. Neck changed it at the very last second because he wants to flunk me or hates me or something”(155).
Hairwoman a quote from the book that states that Melinda doesn't really care about Hairwoman is, “ my English teacher has no face. She has uncomed stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her part to her ears and then neon orange to the frizzy ends. I cant decide if she had pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman”(6).
What this mainly is, that Melinda didn't really trust anyone from her school until she started to trust Mr. Freeman. He was the first teacher to actually get her to talk to him. As the year went on she started to tell him things she didn't even know she was saying. So she basically started to trust him more and more each day without even knowing it.
In conclusion sometimes teachers are better friends then other people. They may understand better everything is said to them instead of some other kid. Sometimes teachers are trusted and sometimes they aren't, it actually depend on who they are.


Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York:Puffin Book,1999.

Anonymous said...

Project Chrysalis Middle School
Reflection: The True You Inside

Everyone has a time of their own when they want to reflect upon a mirror to discover their thoughts and feelings. Melinda has several times when she couldn’t help but become distracted when she sees her reflection because she is afraid to admire her inner being. The three motifs in the novel, Speak, that symbolizes mirrors is the person she used to be, the mistakes, and when she realizes she needs to grow out of her fears.
Firstly, the reader realizes Melinda didn’t want to be noticed; she didn’t want to see the person she became, or at least the person broke down inside her. Melinda no longer looks at herself the same anymore. “I watch myself in the mirror across the room. Ugh…I look for the shapes in my face. Could I put a face in my tree? Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed-up horror of a mouth…I can’t stop biting my lips. It looks like my mouth belongs to someone else, someone I don’t even know. I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall.” (16-17). The reader realized Melinda was secretly dying inside because she has drained all her thoughts into negativity. She fills her mind with fear and threat among her surroundings by blocking everyone out of her system. Does she feel guilty?
Therefore, the reader understands Melinda is cracked inside into multiple pieces; she has trapped all her feelings into a soda bottle. “This closet is abandoned-it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me.” (26). The closet welcomed her to a start-a new way to open up her mind and regain her stress. Her surroundings are expressed by her feelings, “The first thing to go is the mirror. It is screwed to the wall, so I cover it with a poster of Maya Angelou that the librarian gave me…Maya Angelou’s picture watches me while I sweep and mop the floor…I do a little bit of work every day.” (50). Melinda at this point is gaining courage, but at ease so she can respect herself before others.
However, as Melinda gains confidence she finally goes out to find the true her inside. The reader feels this change in attitude has built strength for Melinda because she is beginning to grow out of her roots. When she steps into the fitting room, she experiments with jeans, she wants to leave-whatever fits her just right, is enough for her. “I scurry out to the three-way mirror…I adjust the mirror so I can see reflections of reflections, miles and miles of me and my new jeans...I lean into the mirror. Eyes after eyes after eyes stare back at me. Am I in there somewhere?…I pull the side flaps of the mirror in closer, folding myself into the looking glass and blocking out the rest of the store. My face becomes a Picasso sketch, my body slicing into dissecting cubes…What does it feel like to walk in a new skin? Mr. Freeman thinks I need to find my feelings. How can I not find them? They are chewing me alive like an infestation of thoughts, shame, mistakes…Jeans that fit, that’s a good start. I have to stay away from the closet…I will make myself normal. Forget the rest of it.” (124-125).
In conclusion, Melinda has changed by actually looking for herself. She has said enough is enough; she wasn’t going to let anyone bury her alive. She had to take charge, “ITs hand leaves my throat, attacks my body…IT pulls away from me, puzzled. I reach in and wrap my fingers around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evan’s neck…His lips are paralyzed. He cannot speak. That’s good enough. Me: “I said no.” (195). She faced her fear; she challenged herself to a competition. She won. Melinda doesn’t have to worry any longer; she has seen her reflection and slammed it into pieces. She is back, she has spoken.

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

mauricio hernandez-mty said...

Mauricio hernandez

Melindas closet

Project Chrysalis Middle School

Melindas closet is a very unlike place. its a pace were she "lived' in.Every time she had a flashback or was scared to speak she would go to the closet. The closet is a very meaningful place because it relates to Melinda very deeply. For example, both are:abandoned, need of help, and the first inpresions are not how they really look like. The closet changes over the years just as Melinda speaks more and more thrughout the book.
At the beginning of the book Melinda goes to the abandoned room not knowing whats in there. as it turns out it was a janitors closet. There was dust everywere and very disorganized. It simbolizes Melinda perfectly because Melindas life is messy and all scaterred around, just as Melindas family they communicate trugh post-its and notes.
Melinda is trying to redecorate the janitors closet because she dint like it the way it was. Just as people dint like her because she told the cops about the party. Melinda was trying to redecorate her "life" by changing things up and moving things around.
Melinda ended up putting up Picassos painings on the walls because the painings were unike just like her. Picassos painings isint only one image, its several combined. Melinda put a lot of effort in that closet just o make it her own. Her closet is one of a kind. With Melindas smartness she considered it "Her Sanctuary"

Anderson, Laurie. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Jesse Alvarado said...

Let's see for all of yall that had read the book "speak" how would you answer if you were asked this question. How does the development of Melinda's art reflect her process of healing and recovering? Well, how this student thinks he would respond is by using evidences from the book "speak". This student thinks that yes, Melinda Sordino's life reflects as a tree because of 2 main ideas. One is because the bottom of the tree also known as the roots dark, bad, horrible, ugliest things that has happened to her in the 9th grade at her school so far. The other main idea is because of the tallest part of the tree also known as the upper branches and leaves which indicate the best moments at 9th grade in her school!
Well what this student would like to say is that something that belongs in her first school say at Merry weather high school. Also another thing that belongs in the roots is that all her friends don't talk after something bad happened in some party. Even dough they began is the roots later she liked her art teacher a lot. Well now that talked about the art teacher also known as Mr.Freeman, him and Melinda usually will communicate on drawings. Although that happened one day for turkey she brought the bones her parents didn't cook right which meant that Mr.Freeman could see Melinda's expressions on her art. One day Mr.Freeman have everyone something to draw and she had to draw a tree just like her life! But later on the novel she figures out that Andy Evans had raped her which he was also known as "It". After all Melinda became popular in school for speaking the truth of what Andy had done to her!
Well let's see why do you think this student might be saying all this? Well this student is saying all that so that yall can see how her life is involved with the art. As you had read the lowest root that she had and won't ever let it go is that she got raped bt Andy Evans and in the other way the tallest branch and leave was that she became popular in school and most likely a hero for everyone. How would you rate this book? Well this student would say from 1-5 its going to be a 5. This student said 5 because of one major reason and that reason it too learn a lesson in life. Well yea a tree can relate too a life but any other object can also relate.

Anonymous said...

Brandon
Houston, TX
Melinda Sordino, a freshman at Merryweather High School has a connection between her home and school life. Some factors that prove this point are communicating with family members at home through post- it notes, ignoring parents when having a family “meeting”, and not communicating much with friends at school. Those factors all influenced Melinda’s school life by not speaking to classmates, not going to friends’ party and many more things. These connections are recognized by the reader throughout the 198 page book called Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. One example of a connection between Melinda’s home and school life is shown on page 14 when it talks about Melinda communicating with her parents through post- it notes. “We communicate with notes on the kitchen counter” (14). This is similar to Melinda’s school life because on page 155, Melinda is supposed to read her suffragette project orally but instead she gives copies to her classmates and shows her “introduction” on the blackboard. This tells the reader that Melinda doesn’t enjoy talking a lot orally to her parents or her friends.

Zebrahh(: said...

Juanita:PCMS
Houston,Texas

Don’t Just Speak, Be Heard (Part 1)
Art. The way Melinda spoke to her world. Sketches, colors, bones, and more things were all part of her words. We all speak in different ways and languages, but are we all heard? This author was heard, so why can’t you be heard? Do our words have a point? Does anyone even care about them? The art of speaking is a gift that everyone learns as time goes by, but does everyone use it correctly? In Speak, you will find that they way to be heard is by speaking, if you want change, you will speak, if you want to share an idea, you will speak. Melinda hardly spoke in this novel, but at the end when she does, a lot of things change for her. Without orally speaking up, people will hardly listen, so open your mouth and let the words flow out, otherwise you won’t find what you are looking for.
Speaking orally is the quickest way to gain what one is looking for. As Mr. Freeman said before, “You just chose your destiny, you can’t change that” (12), we are all born with mouths and we can’t change that either. Why not appreciate what we have instead? Everyone has opinions and different ideas, so how could you share those ideas and get the response you want if you don’t speak up? You might not always get exactly what you want, but at least you’ll have the feeling that you have been heard. Think of what one word can do to others, and now imagine what multiple words could cause and impact as well.
David Petrakis defends himself against Mr. Neck’s debate by saying, “The Constitution does not recognize different classes of citizenship based on time spent living in the country. I am a citizen, with the same rights as your son, or you. As a citizen, and as a student, I am protesting this lesson as racist, intolerant, and xenophobic” (56). Mr. Neck shows he is doing his job by telling Melinda the following, “I got my eye on you. Front row.” (7). Rachael expresses her anger towards Melinda in the following text, “Liar!” (184). All these people expressed themselves, stood up for themselves, or created a change on another person, all that was due by words that they all let out. They were heard either in a positive or negative way, but they got to let go of everything they had in mind instead of letting all these words pile up in their minds and get it all filled in. The author made them talk in the book so the readers could see that not everything you say will be positive, but will define what you feel or let others know the type of person that you are.

Zebrahh(: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zebrahh(: said...

Don’t Just Speak, Be Heard (Part 2)
Melinda expressed her self by Art, but without many words. People were worried about her, made fun of her, and didn’t know the actual truth of why she was behaving in such manner. In the end she decided to speak and said to herself that she wouldn’t have any of this. At the scene with Andy Evans in the closet, we all see how Melinda was finally able to let the words out her mouth and not keep them in her thoughts by her saying, “I said no” (195). If Melinda got raped, but she was able to speak in the end, why wouldn’t you be able to? This may not be an easy journey to go through, but in the end it will help you. The author didn’t write this book for nothing. She gave it shape and a purpose for people to see that there is more to speaking because we need to be heard as well.
In this section of the book, we see that Melinda isn’t afraid of speaking about what happened to her, “Let me tell you all about it” (198). We now see that she is brave enough to talk about her rape and not let that mess up her coming years. Melinda was able to speak; therefore, you can do it as well. She will now most likely have a better life because even her parents are going to have a more fluent communication with her because they know what she had to go through and they know that they need to help. Melinda might not be able to forget her rape, but she will enjoy the rest of her life. People that care for someone wouldn’t want to see them down, they worry about them, speaking is the way to mold and make things better for someone. Don’t be afraid because like Melinda you will most likely have changes that you will love and enjoy as well.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Jesus Katz said...

Jesus Katz
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston Tx
Tree Describes Her
Speak a book that makes a reader see what other people might be through and how hard it is to overcome the situation. This book written by an amazing author Laurie Halse Anderson writes about a girl named Melinda who gets raped and how an assignment from art class ended up describing her.
Her assignment for art class was to create a tree that would describe Melinda personality, characteristics and her life. After reading this novel the reader could tell that a tree (symbol) could turn out to really describe Melinda (12-20).
When Melinda first got the assignment she thought it was stupid as Mr. Freemen passed around making everybody take out their “destiny” out of the globe. She wanted to change her topic because she “already knew how to draw a tree since the second grade” but did not know how a small tree could grow and showing her character to everybody.
After reading the book the reader could tell that in the roots of the tree were her deep darkest memories. In the middle of the trunk were how she was treated and seen in school. The branches some problems she gets in too. The leaves/ top of the tree were what everybody found out and how they reacted.
At the roots would be that she got raped and doesn’t speak. Middle of the trunk would be that her ex-best friends hated her for calling the cops in the party she gets raped, were her sanctuary was and how she felt when she was there. Also how IT (Andy Evans) the guy who raped her keeps bothering her in school, how she sees that her mom and dad get home in different cars at different times. In the branches the way other people see her. The way that she is treated in school, the name calling, and the loneliness. The top of the tree were prom gets a disaster and Rachel brakes up with Andy after finding out what he did to Melinda. Hoe her parents see that something is wrong with her and she finds her new hobbies. At the very top how she speaks and everybody in the school find out that she got raped. That is how tree finds out that a tree really describes her(198).

Anonymous said...

Alondra
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas

Friendship. A friend is someone who is there when needed. A friend is for comfort, someone to go to. A friend is someone to talk to. Everyone needs a friend even if the friend is a relative. In Speak a novel from Laurie Halse Anderson the main character, Melinda, doesn’t have anyone to talk to. Melinda’s lack of friends affects her because she has no one to talk to, no one to comfort her, and has no one to cope with.
Throughout the entire book Melinda doesn’t have a friend to talk to except Heather. Ironically Melinda’s only friend, Heather, uses Melinda as a pathway to popularity. When Heather realizes that Melinda doesn’t help her status she ditches her, leaving Melinda without a “friend.”
One of the main reasons Melinda doesn’t speak is because she doesn’t have anyone to speak to. She never has anything to say “Me: “(88, 75) All of her friends, now ex-friends, turned their back on her after the summer party. This is easily shown in the book, “There is no point looking for my ex-friends`” (4).Melinda is forced to keep her problems to herself. She believes that no one wants to listen to her as stated in the book, “Me: [inside my head] Would you listen? Would you believe me? Fat chance.”(114). She can’t let out her problems and what she is going through because no one is there to listen. Her silence has broken her; it has depressed her even more.
Melinda was raped at the summer party, “…because some guy raped me” (183). Most girls that get raped go to therapy to get over the trauma. Melinda had to deal with it alone. As she says, “I couldn’t tell anybody” (183). She didn’t have a shoulder to cry on. She didn’t have kind words to help her heel. She didn’t have someone say everything is going to be alright. She kept it all inside. She didn’t have a friend to comfort her in the worst of times. She was alone, without comfort from anyone.
Just as Melinda didn’t have anyone to talk to, anyone to comfort her, she didn’t have anyone to cope with. Who shared Melinda’s problems? Who could relate to everything Melinda was going through? No one could relate to her problems. She was held to believe that anything that happened to her only happened to her.
In conclusion, Melinda’s lack of friends affected her in many ways. Melinda became the silent girl, she got depressed, and she hid in her closet naming herself the outcast, “I am Outcast” (4). Melinda had no friend to talk to, no friend to comfort her, and no friend to cope with. Melinda was left alone to deal with her problems since she didn’t have a friend.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Eli Muller said...

Growing roots

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a real life book that helps us reflect on our lives and our past experiences. This novel allows us as readers to open up and express ourselves about our past, emotions, and our thoughts. Throughout this novel, Melinda expresses her thoughts and emotions towards herself and everyone else in her presence, but specifically her teachers. Some of Melinda’s teachers, although they may not know it, help her grow by letting her express herself in class whether it be through art or writing; other teachers drain the little bit of life she has in her by getting after her for any little thing.

Anonymous said...

Marthas: Sweet Little Angels or Conniving Devils?
Cassandra
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston Texas

In the book Speak by Laurie Hales Anderson, the Marthas are a social group that, according to adults, are sweet little angels. But the truth is, the Marthas are not the perfect barbie dolls everyone thinks they are. They are conniving robots that get there way by doing good deeds and showing people that they are helpful and sweet. The Marthas are not such a good influence and they are horrible role models because they turn friends against friends, only want certain people in there group, and they change people's personalities.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.

Michael Barrientos said...

Michael Barrientos
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, TX
Speak or Never Speak

Speaking. Many people are afraid. And many people abuse it. There are consequences for abusing the right to speak and there may not. Almost as if you yell FIRE in a movie theater. You are abusing somebody else’s unalienable right. The pursuit of happiness. By yelling fire in a theater, they now feel scared and threatened to get out of the theater. There are consequences for not speaking up. People may pick on you and bully you for not speaking just because they may think you are afraid to say anything. That is why everyone should always speak up about himself or herself. Speaking up may cause people to feel scared or threatened and not speaking may cause to violence.

Anonymous said...

Ricky
Houston, TX
Project Chrysalis Middle School

Some of the places that I see Melinda go in to is the empty room when she goes to the doctor. The closet in her room and the janitors closet at school and what I see is that all of those places bring her peace and harmony to her and I think that is the way she expresses herself when she feels down or mad. And I think that is a great way of showing motif of how she is depressed. Is a perfect way to understand her because allot of the closets and rooms she goes into are dark. Is like if she is trap in a place of loneliness and rage that she just can’t get out of.

And I say this because it looks like each time she sees a light of hope she is slap across the face and is knock down to the floor. And at the end in the janitor closet she finally finds a way to use her hideouts and makes them feel as home for her. Because before this hide out were her escapes of all the problems but it always look like is this awesome place to have fun. These places are full of joy and happiness and it makes her life looking better and it like that place is an anti-problems shield.

There for I think that Melinda was like a caterpillar, a caterpillar eats and eats to form into this chrysalis and the blossoms into a beautiful butterfly. Know Melinda keeps on eating and eating problems and then she comes out into the chrysalis stage were she stars taking all the problems she had and just facing them and overcoming them. And then finally she beats all her problems and all barriers that where that where stopping her. And then she becomes a beautiful butterfly that doesn’t have problems and that is ready to start in new and improved stage of her life.

And that is what I feel about her hideouts and all her problems and how she uses those specific hide outs and overcomes them at the end of the book and the movie. Thanks for reading my essay/letter thank you your book was amazing it show me that there are different things that ordinary people go true. Thank You

Anonymous said...

Stephanie Romero
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas
In the bestselling novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson one can tell that trees are an important symbol, but what does Melinda learn from and through her interaction with trees throughout the novel? Melinda begins as a seed that is waiting to be planted, and slowly ends to be a fully grown tree with much strength. Funny how a tree is simply the only way to see the growth Melinda experiences throughout all the difficulties and tasks she is put to. From the moment she began as impossible as it may sound it was the beginning of everything changing. She learned many things that she probably never even focused on or never really paid attention to, from the obvious things to the smallest details a person rarely sees. She is able to see everything in a whole new perspective and see within the truth in drawing a tree, something that seems so simply bit in reality takes a bit of work to reach the depth within the meaning. Melinda learns from trees because it helps her find the way to grow, see the impossible possible, and it helps her take the first steps into change.

Chris Ramos PCMS said...

The Teachers Who Help

Melinda goes through a very tough time throughout “Speak”. Even though Melinda goes through a tough time, Laurie H. Anderson, the writer of “Speak” put certain characters to help Melinda. Most of the helpers are her teachers and they each help her grow in their own way. Here are the teachers that help her grow and how.
Mr. Neck is the hall monitor and the social studies teacher. He’s always on Melinda’s case since the first day of high school. He seems like a real jerk, but he makes Melinda talk and that helps. Next is her English teacher Hairwomen. Melinda nicked named her that because of her crazy hairdo. At one point in the book Melinda states that she IS Hairwomen. Even though Hairwomen is a nervous wreck, this helps Melinda because one day Hairwomen comes into class a completely different person. She changed, so that means Melinda can change too.
Someone who also helps her is the P.E. teacher. Even though Melinda hates P.E. her P.E. teacher encourages her to play basketball because she’s good at it. The P.E. teacher even offered to raise her grade if she trained a basketball player to shoot like her. And last, but not least….the most important teacher that helps Melinda is Mr. Freeman, the Art teacher. Mr. Freeman, throughout the whole book gives Melinda advice and compliments on her art as if she drew a masterpiece. Everything from the advice to the compliments helped Melinda grow as a person and helped her go through her mental blockage of what happened at the party. In “Riding Shotgun” Mr. Freeman tells Melinda that she could talk to him at any time. This IS the teacher that helped Melinda the most even if he didn’t know it.
The teachers did help Melinda recuperate. They may not know it, but they each had a role in it. Some more than others, but in the end they all helped Melinda go through her moment of darkness.

Anonymous said...

Celeste Delgado
Project Chrysalis Middle School
Houston, Texas

Is Speaking the Answer?

Who says not speaking is a bad thing? There can be many consequences just for not speaking, but there can be a change for those who choose not to. Anything can happen when someone doesn’t speak up such as being hated, getting in trouble, or even making a difference. Those who don’t want to speak should be given a chance because something may be held inside them, they are afraid of what others think or say, or just wanting to be isolated.

In the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda does not speak because of what happened at they party during the summer. She is dying to tell Rachel the truth about Andy Evans, but she is afraid of what Rachel will think. “If there is anyone in the entire galaxy I am dying to tell what really happened, it’s Rachel” (5). Unfortunately when she does tell Rachel, things didn’t turn out as she planned. “Liar! I can’t believe you. You’re jealous. You’re a twisted little freak and you’re jealous that I’m popular and I’m going to the prom and so you like to me like this. And you sent me that note, didn’t you? You are so sick” (184). This wasn’t the only experience Melinda went through, however.

Before this happened, Melinda had to give a report about suffragettes for Mr. Neck, but instead of giving a speech she decides to take their advice and stand up for what she believes in. While she hands out copies of the speech/assignment to the students, David comes out to the front of the class and speaks up for her. “Melinda has to deliver her report to the class as part of the assignment. She made copies everyone can read” (156). This also didn’t turn out like she thought because Mr. Neck gave her a D and sent her the office.

After the whole incident, David gives Melinda a lecture. She may not like it, but he does make a point. He shows Melinda that she has to speak somehow to make a difference just like all of our heroes. “Don’t get me wrong. I think what you did was kind of cool and getting stuck in MISS wasn’t fair. But don’t expect to make a difference unless you speak up for yourself” (159).

Speaking. Is it the answer to solving problems? Above were a few examples of what happened to Melinda when she spoke and tried to be heard. Not everything turned out as expected, but in the end she was able to overcome her thoughts and speak. The author is saying that the moral of the story is to speak when it’s needed most and that it doesn’t hurt. Speak.

Angela Absegami said...

Speak by Laurie Hales Anderson is a book that reflects on our lives and experience with the world. Melinda goes through a very dramatic phase that happened between her and Andy Evans somehow turning into a living nightmare that she can't escape. She is being tortured by her own emotions and refuses to talk to anyone about it but Rachelle. But why Reachlle out of all people? Why is Melinda willing to go that far to tell her? Is she doing it to protect her ex-best friend signaling her that Andy is bad news? I've noticed in the book that the teachers are like her motivation cheer team that help express her feeling and the will to do better. Mr. Neck has always been tracking her down since the first day of high school making it a real pain but he makes her speak. Melinda English teacher Hair woman obviously is a hideous hair style but one day she comes to school as a different person. When Melinda sees’s hair woman’s change she realizes she can change too. Next is her Art teacher Mr. Freeman. He inspires her to do better in her tree art project. He sees the world in a totally different way that anyone can't figure out. He gives her advice throughout the whole book helping her break free of her mental blockage. They may not realize but having teacher that has the motivation for their students are the best any student can ask for. Everyone that reads this book get a different point of view of Melinda's character. She is silent in the being but over the chapters I’ve reed with a little corporation anything’s is possible even for Melinda. I think this book is pretty good for my taste of reading it keep me interested. There are lots of good learning advantages to build upon. Twists and turns give you chill's to what happends nexts.I give this a thumbs up for anyone that is interested in reading it!

Anonymous said...

i havent told anyone...Im too afraid. I have completely lost my ability to cry. I want to though. all the time. he raped me. and I hate him. I hate thinking bout it. it was at skool too. i want to puke

Anonymous said...

Allison Absegami said…
That Speak by Laurie Hales Anderson is a ok book to read. I mean that I don’t like it and at the same time I like, but I do like how she describes the art and the feeling behind her artwork. Since Melinda is an artist it gives me ideas for my own art work. When Melinda tells what happened to her and how that her friends are no longer friends with her. It made me think how just one thing can change your life and your friends lives too. I do hope that her x-friends become Melinda’s best friends again and that Melinda can get her life back and not be afraid of a lot of things any more.

Angela Absegami said...

Now that I have finished reading "speak" i finally see that Melinda finally opens up and tells some how she really feels. It’s never good to cage your feelings like that because the more and more you go on and not tell anyone, you'll eventually explode. But being forcibly rape is something people may never let go of. I’m glad that she told Rachel that Andy Evans raped her. Melinda would have felt horrifyingly awful if she didn't. Maybe Rachel betrayed her as a friend in the school, but it's better to warn your friends than not tell them at all even if they hate your guts. The author of the book detailed it very well with character detail and emotion that really makes you connected with the book. It feels like your really there getting lost in the pages as you read on. To me the book kept me interested I thought it was a little boring but in the end it's still good. I loved how Melinda has a passion for art. To me that means a lot. I compare myself to her with art and drawing. The book makes you think just by one little mistake can change your whole life into a hazardous highway that you can't get out of. How in life you only have one chance to control it without mistakes or anything. No one's prefect but Melinda should have insisted on leaving the party than being scared for ever. Everyone should enjoy this book, it make your mind really think.

Angela absegami said...

Now that I have finished reading "speak" i finally see that Melinda finally opens up and tells some how she really feels. It’s never good to cage your feelings like that because the more and more you go on and not tell anyone, you'll eventually explode. But being forcibly rape is something people may never let go of. I’m glad that she told Rachel that Andy Evans raped her. Melinda would have felt horrifyingly awful if she didn't. Maybe Rachel betrayed her as a friend in the school, but it's better to warn your friends than not tell them at all even if they hate your guts. The author of the book detailed it very well with character detail and emotion that really makes you connected with the book. It feels like your really there getting lost in the pages as you read on. To me the book kept me interested I thought it was a little boring but in the end it's still good. I loved how Melinda has a passion for art. To me that means a lot. I compare myself to her with art and drawing. The book makes you think just by one little mistake can change your whole life into a hazardous highway that you can't get out of. How in life you only have one chance to control it without mistakes or anything. No one's prefect but Melinda should have insisted on leaving the party than being scared for ever. Everyone should enjoy this book, it make your mind really think

Anonymous said...

Allison Absegami said…
I was happy when Melinda scared Andy to the point to were he can’t speak. Then that she made a lot of new friends and became friends with her x-best friends. And that Melinda and her family are spending more time with each other. And I was happy that she wasn’t scared any more, and she wasn’t afraid to speak any more. I am really happy that it all ended well for Melinda and it proves that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a really interesting book to read and it’s cool how the book is spread by marking periods.

Angelina said...

I first read "Speak" this past year. I fell in love with the movie and as soon as I found out there was a book on it I immediately went out and got it. This book really touched me. I cried when I watched the movie and when I read the book. Laurie is the best auther I have ever seen. Her unique writing style is truly mind blowing and a talent we won't soon find again. Then, when I read "Wintergirls" I was even more impressed with Halse's writing. I can't wait for another Laurie Halse Anderson book!

Anonymous said...

Speak saved my life. I was in a terrible, abusive relationship. I used to blame it on myself:

I wasn't pretty enough.
I did something wrong.
I wasn't worth anything better.

I used to sit there and beat myself up over it. Why did I do that? Why did I get him angry? Why can't I be who HE wants me to be.

Until I read SPEAK.
SPEAK has saved lives. We can't let them take that away.

Anonymous said...

I read Speak in 8th grade, that was in 2003. I thought it was amazing! It ignited a fire inside me and jump-started my obsession with reading. That year I started my own personal library of books and I have well over 100 now. I have read other books by Anderson but I have to say that Speak is my favorite. I was very sheltered as a child and the book woke me up to a whole new world (as did many of her other books). I believe Speak has a power inside it, to help, heal, inspire, and give hope to every person who reads it (regardless if they have experienced similar things or not). I want to thank Anderson for writing Speak and all the others. I admire her as an author and I hope that one day I will be able to write amazing stories like she does.

Anonymous said...

I read this book as summer reading book as I was entering the ninth grade. I read it in a day, and it was one of the most amazing reads of my life. I've never been raped, but if I ever do, I think I could cope with it a lot better because of this book. This book was soley focused on Melinda's rape and her silence following, but it truly helped me find my voice. I see things differently now. I see how traumatic events can shape a person's life. It kills me this book would be denied to anyone. Adult, child, man, woman. I read this book and cried my eyes out. I can easily see why Melinda kept this quiet. I mean could you imagine if this happened to you? Probably not. I'd like to say I'd tell my mother. But truth is, I wouldn't want to. I wouldn't want to have to admit it. I wouldn't want to have to stand up and say, "Hey, my name is _________. I was raped. It was awful, please help me," but denying this book to anyone, would be a disservice to any member of the human race. It needs to be made clear rape and sexual assualt is not something made up to make a good television show or movie. It's real life and if it can happen, it shouldn't be taken lightly. It should be taken as heavily as a million bricks (and more) and we should all recognize that even things that aren't pretty happen and closing the door on them doesn't make them not exist, it only makes you stupid and ignorant. I'm glad I found my voice. If not I would never have found the courage I needed in my life. I wouldn't be speaking up now, but this is something I believe in, so let it be known, this book is amazing. Read it, don't make false assumptions and let your prejudices get in your way.

Chrissy,

Ms. Librarian said...

I wish that every young woman would read Speak because it can make us aware of the dangers that we sometimes forget about. More importantly it shows that young women are not alone, should not keep silent, and can overcome!

Anonymous said...

I read "Speak"
I read about my secrets
i read about my lies
I tried to un tie
the knots in the string
of lies
i can't tell my best friend
she would disown me
the world would hate me
i would burn
for being me
for being bi-sexual

Anonymous said...

All conversations start with a Hi, and end with a Bye. What happens in the middle, is up to the people talking.
I learned that after talking to my best friends uncle. The man who told me I was pretty. The man who told me to meet him at places. The man told me things would be okay, even when they weren't.
I never had a voice in anything, so I never really knew how it was like to say something, and have billions of people on your side.
Yes, I was like Melinda.
I read Speak last year.
I also ready my diary in tears.
Wondering why I'm still here.
Wondering why that happened to me.
I needed answers.
Answers to questions like, does he do this to my best friend?
Will he do things like that to other people?
Will he do it to me...again?
I asked no one, but myself, and my diary.
I read Speak.
I learned to have a voice after reading the last page.
Thanks Laurie Halse Anderson.
Thank you, police for making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
...And for giving me a lollipop.

Isaiah Singletary said...

i'm a boy and i wonder why could you be so cruel or how could you be so sex crazed? Are you really that desperate? Y?

Anonymous said...

The book speak changed my view of the world because. In the book speak high school for Melinda already seemed hard but having a creep made it even harder for her. so I'm trying to say I would not go to a party were when you're there you can feel the bad atmosphere if you feel it then leave

Patryk Wilson said...

Speak has changed the way I look at the world.It has given me the sense that women are very gently and need to be treated with care.When I first heard about rapping's,I thought it was a vile thing and thought it only happened to women.But when Laurie Anderson put together all of those emails she got from readers,I was surprised to see that a man was raped.I've known the world to be cruel but when people rape other people.they have a cold heart. That person now could be stuck with a baby at a young age.They might even put the baby up for adoption.The child would then grow up and never know her/his mom.The sad part about it is that the person didn't have a say if they wanted to reproduce with him.

Anonymous said...

I read it and then passed it on to a friend who I thought would appreciate it. I reread it all the time. I wasn't raped, but I can relate to the book because of her lostness, her family troubles, her friend troubles, her depression. It makes me feel better because it makes me feel not alone.

Tiffany Harkleroad said...

I just read this for the first time. Here is my review. It moved me to tears.
http://tiffanysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/03/speak-by-laurie-halse-anderson.html

Anonymous said...

After I finished reading Speak, I was left speechless. I didn't want the book to end... I wanted to know what happened to each character and if Melinda got friends. It was an amazing book. It's as if a real teenager wrote it, not an adult.

Anonymous said...

This was a very touching book. I've never been raped, but I won't hesitate to tell anyone about it after reading this.
The weird part is that I have to make a book report about it, and illustrate important scenes. Raping is a very awkward subject in seventh grade...

GlamoirWorld said...

I finished reading the book and it touched me. Even though i've never have been raped, I find the book relatable. In 5th grade, I was bullied and outcasted like Melinda. Towards the latter part of that year, I thought of suicide. It took me three years to SPEAK about IT. I'm so glad I spoke about it. I'm glad there is Speak, it's an amazing book and everyone should read it.

Sierra Rose said...

I am almost done reading Speak and so far I absolutely love it. I know how she feels, not about the rape, but about living in her head. I may talk a lot but my whole life I've felt like I'm watching it go by. I was an outcast most of my life. I love how you wrote this. You feel like you are her. Like you are seeing and feeling what she does. I have never read a book that does that to me. I don't understand why it gets banned because there is nothing wrong about it. I like how you added the artistry of the tree. It feels like a symbol of some sort. I will continue to read your stories. Thank you for an amazing story that i cannot put down!! love, Sierra G. from MN.

Kagome-Chan said...

I read this book when I was in 7th grade. It was amazing! It touched that part in my heart that nothing else had ever touched before. Melinda, I can relate to her. in the 6th grade I was raped and this continued for 2 years. I didn't know him, but what I did find out was that my best friend knew. Anyways, this book helped me to open up my mouth and speak. I told my best friends and later on, my parents, but after it happened and while it was continuing I kept shut. I didn't say not one word about it. Also like melinda I was clan less. No one to talk to for help or support. Now, even still scarred about the happenings, I carry on. There's no changing the past, but there is building a new future. This is what your amazingly wonderful book taught me

Anonymous said...

i love u

Anonymous said...

The first time I read this book, I was in middle school, I had never been raped or anything like that. I just had really liked the book, and thought it was amazing.
The summer after I graduated high school, I had not touched or thought about that book in forever, then I was sexually assaulted in a similar situation to Melinda. It was a graduation party, we were drinking...and it was my friends boyfriend...and it was awful. And I told about 2 people and cried and was silent and numb about every emotion Melinda felt. About a year and a half later, I was still grieving feeling all the shame and guilt...and the movie version came on lifetime and I watched. I cried. And read the book again. It took over a year, but I finally got help, and I can't help but know this book was a part of my road to recovery and forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

I love the book, mostly the movie cuz I can relate to Melinda I was raped and I'm 15 and the weird girl who doesn't talk and I've been with depression for 2 years now and I cut and only eat once a day, I have a boyfriend who wants to support me but he almost raped me so I became suicidal after that but I look to this book and I draw and keep the book with me in school to help and I suggest people read it _marissa.

Anonymous said...

jesus is with you

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

this is a cool book I like it but the ending needed more suspense :)

Anonymous said...

I read the book in class and most of the time the teacher read it to us but when I start to get in to it it was sad cool at the same time and its sad when Andy raped her and she can tell no one but she takes the nervous or scared and tell her friend s about it so the example: show me and every body to speak up and not to be scared so speak up people thank you for reading this.

Anonymous said...

I've read speak and it reminds me of a family member of mine she had been raped. Thankfully captured him but still she has guilt on what happend.

Anonymous said...

I liked the book, but I felt sorry for Melinda. I feel sorry because all her friends left her and didn't like for calling the cops at the party.

Anonymous said...

I have no boyfriend but Christine and Mya do .I have not gone through what Melinda has gone through. I feel sorry for Melinda.She got raped and no one believed her untill she spoke up to Rachel and she was not taking it seriously untill they belived her.

Anonymous said...

i like it

Anonymous said...

im bored sombody say nooo

Yoxelin Aguirre said...

I LIKE THIS BOOK AND I LEARNED ALOT FROM IT, ALSO IT OPENED MY EYES TO NOT JUDGE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO QUIET BECAUSE U DONT KNOW THEIR LIFE OR STORY, I'VE HEARD ALOT OF GIRLS GETTING RAPED OR SOMETHING REALLY BAD THAT THEY ARE SO AFRAID TO TALK BECAUSE THEY ARE SCARED OF WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO TELL THEM FOR EXAMPLE: SLUT, HOE, WHORE, U KNOW U WANTED..... I LOVE THIS BOOK AND ITS GOOD TO OPEN PEOPLES EYES AND NOT KILL THEMSELVES... :-)

Anonymous said...

Melinda is shy and insecure. Iam shy and quiet. I look kind of like her too. My mom is cool. My dad is in Washington state.

Anonymous said...

I liked this comment because she/he said “Speak has made it clear that you cannot keep untold stories inside you for they only keep pain in and depression out. I have a familiar story like Melinda. It's true and it can happen to you.
*Student*” and it is true because now people cannot keep stuff like that to themselves because they hurt themselves and if they speak they can get help. This comment said the truth and that’s why I liked it.

Anonymous said...

hiiii XD

Anonymous said...

When you get raped make sure to say that you have pooped your pants and they will walk away like nothing ever happend

Anonymous said...

I love the book Speak. I read the book in middle school and really enjoyed the book but the movie is a little better because it shows action mere better and there are real characters.

Anonymous said...

I love this book. it was a great book. i can relate because i have also house problem many of them . also i can relate to being scared to talk out my problems. i live in a shadow of always being seen by people as a happy and smart person. But there is something that always keeps me away from actually showing my TRUTH emotions about "FAMILY" . Anyways good book. i Love it . not lieing it makes you cry.


_Gisell

Dallas Yocom said...

I like this book. It opened my eyes and learned that there is a story behind a girls quietness. A lot of girls are being raped and nobody would know. So don't judge others if you don't know their lifestory.

vanessa said...

i acutually liked this book . it was very instersting. for the first time i could actually say i liked the book better then the movie. it was so discriptive.i loved this book ! i would say so far this is the best book i read ! so know i know that i need to speak up if its still not the same situation . ive cut myself in 5th grade , but i realized theres no reason, i thought it would take the pain away but it didnt . yet im still so stress out everyday i put a smile on my face and go on with life ;) but the most important people in my life help me with that my momma , daddy, and my bestfriend monce flores :) amen!this book really helped me alot with my daily life. thanks o:)

Anonymous said...

jessus wrote bad things

Anonymous said...

I had a expirence as the same as melinda. Because she describes wat shes been through

Ana Gonzalez said...

i really love this book i really enjoy it

Anonymous said...

I am 13 i was sexually abuse when i was 3. I am finally free
To begin again
I will never look back
No, never look back

I am finally free
I am now a strong tree
Built to stand up to any storm

You have me living a nightmare of haunted dreams
These dreams will hurt me no more

I am finally free
to sign to my own melody
To trust not only me, but others

I am finally free
The sun has set form
The wind blows gently at my back

I smile thinking inside
I can finally breathe agin

I wish I could say this
But I know the battle is not over yet
It hurts to know i cant let go

I WISH ALL THIS CAN STOP I CANT HOLDMY TEARS BACK THEY COME TO ME AGIN . UR STUDENT MS> WASHINGTON A.G DO WHAT U WANT SCHOOL

cristian fuentes said...

I read this book two years ago and reading it over spring break still catches my suspense and it's messed up that heather and Melinda are using each other (not real friends).

Anonymous said...

I read speak two years ago in freshman year and it hit me hard. It was breathtaking and showed me that I'm not alone. That there are other bus girls and adults who are going through the same pain. Listen is now my favorite poem. It brought me to tears as well as speak itself. I even wrote a poem about what I feel and still do and it has helped me a lot. I want to thank the author, Laurie Halse Anderson for inspiring me to write my thoughts. I will continue to read your books and write for myself

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