February 14, 2013
English Honors Period 3
An Untold Story
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (Maya Angelou) The novel Speak details the life story of Melinda Sordino, a freshman in high school, and how both the traumatic and happy events of her life shape her character. In the summer before entering high school, Melinda is invited to a party that changes her life; and it is not for the better. A senior in high school named Andy Evans rapes her, and since she is so scared, she calls the police, they arrive shortly, and proceed to break up the party. Throughout Speak, Melinda is reassured by a poster of Maya Angelou, who was also raped as a child, but went on to become a successful public figure and author. A major theme that echoes throughout the novel Speak is that all people are made smarter not by aging, but by the experiences they have been through. This fact that experience defines a person is evident in Melinda’s life by both the traumatic experience she has of rape and the enjoyable experience she has attending Mr. Freeman’s art classes. These two opposite influences wage war and, in the end, Melinda decides to emerge from her shell. When she speaks to her middle school friend-turned-enemy Rachel about the event at the summer party, Melinda is accepted with open arms and forgiven of her accusations. Through the symbol of the white couch and the metaphors of the seasonal change and the tree, which is each effectively inserted into Speak, one can tell that a person grows through learning from his experience rather than by mere aging. Most trees are a symbol of life when they are full of leaves in the summer, or a symbol of death when they have lost all their leaves in winter. In Speak, however, as shown on page 12 by Mr. Freeman and Melinda’s brief conversation, the tree actually represents Melinda’s life story, “By the end of the year, you must figure out how to make your object say...
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