The collegiate world was awakened in 2012 to years of child abuse on a huge scale by football coach Jerry Sandusky of Penn State University. Sandusky was recently imprisoned for these crimes. His victims, much like main character Melinda Sordino in the novel Speak, suffered in silence until they revealed their secret helping to finally express inner emotions. As I read this novel I compared scenarios and found the similarity between Sandusky’s victims and Melinda, they needed to speak in order to heal.
Melinda begins to develop a coping mechanism that negatively affects her psychologically. She withdraws from her family life by sulking in her bedroom. On the first day of high school she sits alone on the bus and doesn’t talk to anyone. Once the school year starts her grades fall from what used to be A’s and B’s, to D’s and F’s (except art class.) Physically she loses interest in her appearance and hygiene and starts falling into depression.
Melinda begins to express herself positively in various ways in her school environment as the year progresses. Through her art assignment, Melinda conveys, through painting, her growing process of healing. In order to heal, she must grow out of her deep emotional shell that she has built around herself. The healing process can be very difficult for some because the wall they build up (from the original source of pain) was built to protect them. Unfortunately it is usually an unhealthy way to cope… so within time healing, in this case speaking up, will come a little easier and easier.
By the end of the school year Melinda begins to realize her potential and finally confronts several negative people in her life. Heather is one of the these people. Melinda finally tells, egocentric manipulator Heather, no and asks her to leave her house and not speak to her anymore because she is a terrible friend. Melinda faces her rapist, Andy, by revealing his crime to his current girlfriend (Melinda’s ex-bestfriend) Rachelle....
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