Summary of Speak

Melinda Sordino busted an end of the school year party. She called the cops because she was raped, scared, and didn't know what to do. Melinda has become almost completely mute because her friends won't talk to her. Even her best friend, Rachel, has ignored her. On the first day of school, she meets Heather from Ohio, but Melinda doesn't talk. Heather ends up becoming a 'Martha', which is a group of popular girls who like to help people, but are really stuck up. Heather completely ignores and befriends Melinda, which leads her into depression. Throughout the year, Melinda begins to enjoy art. Her art teacher, Mr. Freeman, assigns everyone a project and Melinda gets to draw a tree. The art project will take the whole school year, and the project gets better as she realizes she needs to speak up. Melinda realizes she needs to speak up about how Andy raped her, and she tells Rachel. Rachel doesn't believe her. Out of friendship and compassion for Rachel, she tried to warn her. Melinda has a run in with Andy Evans, the senior boy who had raped her. Andy is now trying to get with Rachel. Andy locks Melinda in her closet. Her social studies teacher yelled at her so she ran into an empty closet, which becomes hers. Andy locks her in the closet, and says "You have a big mouth, you know it? Rachel blew me off at prom, giving me some bullshit story about how I raped you. You know that's a lie. I never raped anyone. I don't have to." "NNNOOO!!!" Melinda pushes him off her and cuts his neck when Nicole, her old friend, opens the door and gets help. On the last day, almost everyone has heard what Andy did and is proud of Melinda. Melinda turns in her art project and gets an A+. Mr. Freeman asks her "You've been through a lot, haven't you?' "Let me tell you about it", says Melinda.

Character Analyis

Melinda Sordino is fourteen years old just going into high school. Melinda is sexually assulted at an end of summer party, and she becomes ashamed and confused, which leads to her becoming almost completely mute. Melinda becomes very depressed and does not do anything to fix this. Towards the end of the book, Melinda speaks up and becomes less depressed and speaks up.


Melinda had a lot to overcome. Melinda's conflict is character versus self. After the party, Melinda becomes depressed and has to overcome being depressed, mute, and has to speak up about what Andy did to her. "We can't get a word out of her", says Melinda's parents. Melinda eventually speaks up and does what's right.


In Speak, there are many themes. I think the main theme of Speak is transformation. Melinda goes under a huge transformation throughout her ninth grade year. In the beginning of the year, Melinda became mute and untrustful of people. Throughout the book, we can see how she changes and becomes the girl she used to be before the party. When she speaks up, she becomes stronger and more positive. Part of Melinda's transformation comes from art. Mr. Freeman, her art teacher, assigned a project where Melinda had to draw a tree. The tree can symbolize how Melinda can transform and grow big and strong. Readers of the book can take away that from speaking up, you can learn how to speak up for yourself and gain confidence, and overcoming the fear of speaking up and what the consequences might be.

Textual Evidence

Speak had some very powerful parts in the book. For me, the most powerful part is when Andy locks Melinda in her closet and she fights back and she says no, stands up for herself, and fights back. This moment was powerful for me because I sometimes have a hard time sticking up for myself, and saying no. Speak had a lot of good quotes. My favorite quote is "You're holding a lot of stuff in. Let it out, draw a tree or something. You can't forget what happened to you in the past. You have to grow from it." I thought this was the most important quote from the book because it goes along with the whole theme and tone of the book. Melinda realized she could not forget and she had to grow from the past, and start to make more positive changes in her life.