Peter outcast at her high school after calling

Peter Drucker, philosopher and author once stated, “The most important thing of communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Communication is a powerful tool that enables a person to speak out for their beliefs and opinion. Remaining silent due to lack of confidence or being fearful of the outcome is more detrimental than speaking up which is illustrated through Laurie Anderson’s novel, Speak.  The novel Speak is the story of a young girl named Melinda Sordino, who is the outcast at her high school after calling the police during a summer party. Due to the traumatic rape, that took place in the summer she has the inability to tell anyone but keeping it towards herself. Throughout the book it illustrates the lack of communication which instigates a barrier between the character and her surroundings, leading to her dark depression. Persisting through her freshman year causes her to encounter obstacles; concerning the misperception of others, relationships, and being isolated as an outcast. The misperception of others has always let Melinda down as she does not feel comfortable with her surroundings. Melinda perceives her surroundings and herself as the fundamental disconnect between appearance and reality. She has faced a traumatic event for a fourteen-year-old, yet she is still viewed as the disappointment to her parents, the problem towards her teacher and the freak at her school. Melinda is seen as perceptive and sensitive, which enables her to notice the gap between appearance and reality everywhere she goes. This is demonstrated when Melinda tells herself, “You don’t understand, my head voice answers. Too bad she can’t hear it. My throat squeezes shut as if two hands of black fingernails are clamped on my windpipe. I have worked so hard to forget every second about that stupid party, and here I am in the middle of a hostile crowd that hates me for what I had to do. I can’t even look at that part myself” (Anderson 28). At school, Melinda is constantly being verbally and physically as everyone thinks she is a freak. During the pep rally, she encounters two people who threaten and taunt her for calling the cops. One of the girls blames Melinda for getting her brother arrested and losing his scholarship. While being physically abused by the students at her school, she does not have the courage to confront everyone what happened at the party, since her rapist Andy Evans goes to the same school as her. The use of imagery in the quote builds and demonstrates the thoughts going through Melinda’s head and how she feels if she came out telling everyone what happened. Melinda thinks that if she confronts everyone no one will believe her or it will create a bigger issue. Due to the false interpretation people have on her, she feels guilty and blames herself for everything that took place at the party. With the misinterpretation among her peers, she is an also viewed as a bad student for her teachers. Even with the constant bullying that she faces with the students at the school, her teachers also fail to see the bright child Melinda is. The teachers at her school, perceive her as a bad influence on the students at this school.  When Mr. Neck comes across Melinda on the first day of school and tells her ” I knew you were trouble the first time I saw you. I’ve taught here for twenty-four years and I can tell what’s going on in a kid’s head just by looking in their eyes. No more warnings. You just earned a demerit for wandering the halls without a pass” (9). This quote hints that Mr.Neck already has a bad impression of Melinda due to the way she acts at school. Throughout the novel, she often singles her out due to her silence and stillness. Mr.Neck usually uses his power to hurt people, especially Melinda. Like all the other staff at the school, they are blind to see what Melinda has to say except for Mr.Freeman. Mr. Freeman can make out Melinda is attempting to say something but is stopped by her past memories from the party. Due to her inability to speak, the only way she communicates is through her art.  As Melinda slowly begins her freshman journey, she realizes that the misinterpretation of others put her down resulting her to remain quiet. Melinda has to not only overcome challenges from peers and teachers but also with her friends and family; she is alienated from both groups. Her parents are very distant from Melinda and fail to see the pain she has been through. Her friends have all abandoned her, thinking that she purposely called the cops at the party when she was just trying to report that she was raped. Melinda is able to see that her parents are almost at the edge of being divorced as they seem to constantly fight. With Melinda’s parents relationship, they never seem to understand why she is always acting strange comparing to the other students at her school. This is further explored when Melinda is questioned about her attitude and grades by her parents. When Melinda’s mother tells her “She is just jerking us around to get attention”(114). This indicates that Melinda’s mother thinks her daughter is trying to get her attention as all of her grades has dropped from her report card. Instead of questioning Melinda, she comes to a statement and assumes that she is acting childish getting spoiled. Which clearly clarifies that Melinda’s mother is not aware of anything that Melinda does, as she is always working or busy arguing with her husband. Melinda struggles to tell her parents as they might be constantly arguing which may lead to a divorce. With the constant pressure at home, Melinda fails with keeping up her grades and striving to be at parents expectation. While feeling dislocated at her house she also finds it hard to adjust to her school setting. Melinda tries to reunite with her former friends, but they do not accept her as she is the freak at their school. Even in her attempt to make new friends, she is constantly bullied by the people at her school. This is shown when Heather tries to break her relationship with Melinda by telling her ” You don’t like anything. You are the most depressed person I’ve ever met, and excuse me for saying this, but you are no fun to be around and I think you need professional help”(104). In this quote, it describes what Heather thinks about Melinda.  Heather is also in desperate need of attention, so she decides to befriend Melinda to be accepted by the Marthas. Heather is constantly talking about her life that she does not question Melinda about anything. Although Heather can clearly see that Melinda is devastated about something, she does not seem to question why Melinda is always dark and moody. Heather could have tried to direct Melinda to some of that professional help Melinda needed and listen to what she had to say and understand the pain she went through. Even though Heather told her to seek guidance she could have directed her towards that pathway or listen to what she had to say and understand her pain. Melinda clearly wants to confront her parents and her former friends, but her silence is holding her back creating a rift in all of her relationships.Melinda intentionally withdraws herself from all of her relationships and people due to her isolation. Throughout the novel, Laurie Anderson vividly describes Melinda’s mind and how much of her isolation has impacted her. Melinda’s isolation has impacted her loss of innocence after the traumatic event. Her desperate need of help has made her isolate the old happy Melinda she used to be, which is illustrated when Melinda tells herself “My room belongs to an alien. It is a postcard of who I was in fifth grade. It is a demented phase I thought that roses should cover everything and pink was a great color”(14). In this quote, it highlights the fact that even staying in her own room reminds her of the old happy Melinda she used to be. Her bedroom symbolizes the childhood innocence she lost after that summer. The use of imagery in this quote describes how happy and joyful Melinda was before. The color pink symbolizes happiness, playful young girl Melinda once was. Since Melinda is struggling to speak out for herself she feels suffocated and is traumatized after she is constantly reminded of Andy Evans. While feeling isolated in her room, she feels like an outcast at her school. When Melinda goes through the hallways she sees her former best friends which constantly reminds her of the party. When Melinda makes categories for each sorority at her school, she realizes that she is the only person standing. Melinda tells her “I am the outcast”(4). This exemplifies that Melinda’s isolation has not only given her unhappiness but leads to her depression. When Melinda labels herself as the outcast it exemplifies that her isolation has led her to feel lonely and become depressed. While comparing herself to her former friends, Melinda realizes that not even one of them came up to ask her about the party. Since people at her high school think she purposely called the police they did not even bother to seek out and investigate why she called the police that night. If someone had asked her what happened that night, Melinda could have had a chance to tell people that she was raped by Andy Evans. Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Speak demonstrates the lack of communication which leads to her dark depression. Throughout Melinda’s journey she learns that to overcome evil, she must speak against it. The misperception of others, relationships and being isolated are all attributes that lead towards her depression, resulting her to remain silent. The misperception of others has drastically changed and transformed her into a different person. Her relationship with her parents and former friends, has kept her alienated and distant from both groups leading her to hold her thoughts and feelings within herself. Her isolation has made a huge impact making her realize that she needs to reconnect with people to move on with her life. The power of communication is a very important tool that enables people to express their feelings and emotions, which made Melinda realize that she had to stand up and confront to everyone what happened at the night of the party.

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