Speak: Symbolism

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People experience symbolism every day. When you think of clouds, dreary or sad days come to mind, when you think of sunsets many people would think of the end or conclusion. In the book Speak by Laurie Anderson, almost everything Melinda does gives a deeper meaning. They may all seem like normal everyday things but sometimes it’s essential to read between the lines. Some of the many ways she uses symbolization include the dissection of the frog in biology, the way Melinda draws her trees and when she rakes the leaves in her backyard. Melinda dissecting the frog symbolizes how she felt while she was raped. The book describes the frog as pinned down, with the legs spread open (81). She sees herself in the frog, page 135 explains the rape and how powerless she felt to what was happening to her, much like the frog. Melinda’s fainting was definitely not because of the smell of frog juice. She also personifies the frog as “her” and not “it” which also leads you to believe that the frog represents Melinda. The dissection shows more than just cutting up a frog, it represents the helplessness and terror she felt. Her tree drawings indicate how she feels throughout the novel. The beginning trees are dark and gloomy; she depicts them as almost dead. She “can’t bring it to life” were her exact words (78). She puts herself in her artwork because that’s the only way to express herself and her feelings. Melinda is like the tree; both dead and alive. She feels lonely and depressed as a result of keeping the rape bottled up inside and her friends hating her. The lightning represents the torment she gets from her classmates that add to her pain. Her trees turn a corner after she fights with Andy in the closet and tells Mr. Freeman what happened to her the night of the rape. After she lets go of her agonizing secret she is able to put life into her trees. When Mr. Freeman says “perfect trees don’t exist” she accepts the fact that the rape happened and she can’t change that (153)....
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