“Speak” By Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a story written in the first person about a young girl named Melinda Sordino. The title of the book, Speak, is ironically based on the fact that Melinda chooses not to speak. The book is written in the form of a monologue in the mind of Melinda, a teenage introvert. This story depicts the story of a very miserable freshman year of high school. Although there are several people in her high school, Melinda secludes herself from them all. There are several people in her school that used to be her friend in middle school, but not anymore. Not after what she did over the summer. What she did was call the cops on an end of summer party on of her friends was throwing. Although all her classmates think there was no reason to call, only Melinda knows the real reason. Even if they cared to know the real reason, there is no way she could tell them. A personal rape story is not something that flows freely off the tongue. Throughout the story Melinda describes the pain she is going through every day as a result of her rape. The rape of a teenage girl often leads to depression. Melinda is convinced that nobody understands her, nor would they even if they knew what happened that summer. Once a happy girl, Melinda is now depressed and withdrawn from the world. She hardly ever speaks, nor does she do well in school. She bites her lips and her nails until they bleed. Her parents seem to think she is just going through a faze, but little do they know, their daughter has undergone a life changing trauma that will affect her life forever.
Many teenagers in high school experience a degree of alienation and seclusion in the transition from middle school to high school. Types of alienation would include relationship issues with parents, teachers, peers, and society. However, Melinda feels it to the extreme. Melinda went through a traumatizing experience, and everyone and everything around her contribute to the uncontrollable pain she is feeling. This pain has lead her to depression. Throughout this story Melinda has missed several opportunities to reach out for help. Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and occasional sadness. Depression is a serious problem that impacts every single aspect of a teen’s life. If left untreated, teen depression can lead to problems at home, school, and in other aspects of ones life. Depression is often caused by past traumatic events. Although some teens aren’t able to really process what is going on, they remember and are haunted be the event every day. It is extremely important to be informed about adolescent depression, and what can be done to help.
Throughout the story, Melinda shows many signs of depression. Teens will often display changes in their thinking and behavior, lose their motivation, or become withdrawn. Psych Info Online presented some signs of depression that Melinda experienced in the novel. The signs Melinda indicated include: sadness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal from friends, decreased interest of activities, social isolation, poor communication, low self-esteem, guilt, and dropping of grades. The main issue that lead Melinda to this depression was the rape. However, Melinda’s parents are also uninvolved and disengaged. Having uninvolved parents can also lead to some cases of depression. In Melinda’s case, having parents like this only made it worse. Melinda’s parents were rarely ever around, and communicated to her through post-it notes. Problems with teenagers and depression can lead to a number of things that affect the development of adolescents, going beyond tears and sad moods. HelpGuide.org, a guide on teen depression for parents and teachers, elaborates on the importance of helping a depressed teen and how depression can destroy the very core of an adolescent’s personality, causing overwhelming side effects. “Depression can often lead to...