Speak By: Laurie Halse Anderson

By: Sydney Cummings


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is about a 14 year old freshman named Melinda, who goes basically her entire school year without talking. Melinda attended a house party over the summer and gets drunk and calls the police after being raped by a boy who attends her school. When she arrives to school on the first day, everyone shuns her and Melinda's parents are too busy working to notice Melinda's unhappiness.She tends to be very quiet. As she walks throughout the mall one day she had decided to skip she thinks about telling someone as she says "I should probably tell someone, just tell someone. Get it over with. Let it out, blurt it out.(Anderson,99)" Melinda learns to show emotion through art and eventually becomes really close with her art teacher. Melinda is constantly gawked at by her former assaulter whenever they come in contact, which isn't hard because they attend the same school. Melinda doesn't really enjoy school because of her lack of friends. She doesn't really like anyone. But she'll eventually open up, she has to.

Character Analysis

Melinda Sordino is young, but she's alone.She's a smart girl but she hides it because she doesn't like to be in the spotlight. Melinda doesn't like to speak. " There is no way i'm reading my suffragette report in front of the class (Anderson,155)". She has become withdrawn from the outside world, she's dreary and blank. Melinda is talented in artwork but she constantly finds herself stumped because her introvert based pain fills her mind most of the time.


Melinda is experiencing character vs. self and character vs. society conflicts. Melinda is battling depression with herself.She also has developed a low self esteem. "I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet (Anderson,17)". She's also being shunned by everyone in her school and laughed at. She's afraid nobody will believe her if she speaks up about the rape, but if she doesn't then she'll continue to be sad and depressed.


The plain and clear theme throughout Speak is to Speak up about anything wrong. Don't let it happen and keep things bottled up. Reach out to someone trusted no matter what the situation or how embarrassing it may seem. Keeping things bottled up can destroy your personality and ruin a lot around you. Melinda's parents are falling apart because Melinda just won't SPEAK. Her mom says " That's the point, she won't say anything! I can't get a word out of her. She mute (Anderson,114)".
Degrassi 13C: Sexual Assault PSA

Textual Evidence

“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You'd be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It's the saddest thing I know (Anderson,122).” This quote to me is really meaningful to the theme of this story and to me as a person. This quote explains theme because Melinda destroyed herself mentally day by day by day because she waited so long to open up. This quote to me tells me that words are better out than in.

Book Review

Speak to me deserves a 4 1/2 star rating.The book had a jaw-dropping plot. I would recommend this book to anybody who reads slower or anybody who enjoys books along this topic. The intro was very long before any good action started to happen but i liked that the book was broken up into small sections.
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"Speak." Mad Woman in the Forest. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

"Flugga, Christine." Authenticvoice [licensed for Non-commercial Use Only] /. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

"Stand Up. Stop Rape." PosterGully The Blog. Wordpress, 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 May 2016.