Quotation Response for Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Quotation Response for Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak cover


“If I sit in the front, it will make me look like a little kid, but I figure it’s the best chance I have to make eye contact with one of my friends, if any of them have decided to talk to me yet.” This is our first look into our main character’s life.  We know from the beginning of the book this is her first day of high school.  This quote left me wondering why her friends would have decided not to speak to her.  This quotation definitely got me thinking about what was going to happen in the book.
“She can talk for hours. All I have to do is prop the phone against my ear and “uh-huh” occasionally while I surf the cable.” This shows our main character’s desire to still have friends.  She wants to be connected to people, but she still talks only occasionally.  In one way you feel that the character would like to disappear, but her desire to have someone contradicts that.  
“I wonder if Hester tried to say no. She’s kind of quiet. We would get along.” This is an interesting quote as the main character’s English class studies The Scarlet Letter.  The fact that she identifies with the adulterer gives us an idea of what happened this past summer.  The part that really struck me was the “I wonder if Hester tried to say no.”  We find out later in the book that Melinda “tried” to say no, but couldn’t speak when the trauma occurred.  This is an indication that she is carrying around guilt and responsibility for the incident that she still hasn’t spoken of.
“We were never really, really friends, were we?” This is a troubling quote.  Heather states this to Melinda.  I would say the fact that they shopped and went to Heather’s house, etc., would make them friends.  Perhaps they weren’t the friends that share secrets (obviously), but they were friends and this serves as just another chip taken off Melinda’s self-worth.
“You’re not going to scream. You didn’t scream before.” This quote infuriates me, yet, the actions after this quote show how much Melinda has grown through the year.  The art class and her interactions with others have helped her be able to speak out and scream. Obviously “Beast” thinks he can get away with it AGAIN.  The fact that she musters the strength to fight back and scream is amazing.  I love that the Lacrosse team comes to help.  It is an amazing twist in the story.
“Let me tell you about it.” These words spoken to Melinda’s art teacher speak volumes.  It’s amazing that this teacher has allowed her to work through her issue through art without pushing for explanations.  This teacher has connected with her more than any other person in her life.  I feel like this quote tells us she’s ready to tell her story.  She must know that once she tells it others will find out and something will have to be done about it.  This is a story about this character’s reaction to the trauma and her relationships as she struggles through the recovery process.  I feel like this quote triggers shows the recovery is proceeding and she’s ready for it.

This story intrigued and mesmerized me as I was reading.  I’ve spoken about this book with one of my classes and have at least two students who are interested in reading it.  I’m looking forward to the next book I’ll ready by Laurie Halse Anderson.


4 thoughts on “Quotation Response for Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. I like the part where her Art teacher was an important part in her healing and it sounds like the teacher respected her enough to let some things slide. Because she wasn’t pushed into explanations by her Art teacher (i’m guessing), Melinda eventually opened up to her teacher, mentor? friend?


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