Critical Lense; Romeo and Juliet + Speak

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Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, said, “while we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions”. This quote means we can do what we wish to, but we can’t decide what happens afterwards because of it. This applies to literature as well as real life. In both the novel Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, and the drama Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, characters do many things of there own will, but none of them have any control over the outcome and consequences. In the novel Speak, several of the characters act with a result in mind, but the consequences they get aren’t what they desired. For example, Melinda decided to go to an end-of-summer party with Rachel. She was hoping it would make her cooler, and thought she might be able to make some new, upper-classmen friends for when she entered high school in the fall. She had a bit too much to drink and wandered away from the other kids with an older, stronger, teenage guy. That guy took advantage of her alcohol-induced confusion and weakness to rape her under the trees. Melinda then called the police but got scared and ran away as soon as they arrived. They arrested many teens at that party, and those kids as well as their friends and family hated her for it, not knowing the real reason she called. In addition, Andy Evans, the guy who raped Melinda, tried to take advantage of her again in the abandoned janitor’s closet. He thought he could scare her back into silence and get a little fun out of it. He expected Melinda to react like last time and let him do whatever. However, she was sober this time and knew what would happen, so she fought back, and eventually pressed a mirror shard to his throat and screamed. Her scream was loud enough for the lacrosse team to hear and come help. As a result, Andy didn’t get any of the things he wanted and instead got in more trouble. Finally, Melinda decided to tell Rachel about what really happened...
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