In Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, trees symbolize Melinda’s growth throughout her life to stay sane and pass the horrific time of her life. Depression is her first phase, when she starts to paint the trees that were hit by lightning. It is also shown by her not talking to many people. She starts to realize that she cannot be perfect when she imagines a beautiful oak tree but really cannot carve it properly. Her third phase comes when the trees outside her house has a few sick branches and she decides to let go of the present Melinda who is not letting her grow and nurture the old Melinda, the one before the party, the fun and outgoing one. The last phase, and tree was the one she drew for the last art project, it was a living, and breathing tree which was when she finally realized that she can stop punishing herself for happened because it was not her fault. In Laurie H. Anderson Speak, Melinda started off as a mute, scared girl but slowly regained her voice by expressing herself through the art of trees. Through the art of drawing trees, Melinda comes out of depression and guilt and becomes a more positive person.
First, Melinda’s phase of depression takes her to her art class, as an escape from reality and the harsh comments thrown at her. At first she was hesitant about drawing trees for her art project but when she started, her first few were all hit by lightning and nearly dead, which symbolize her fearful emotions. Although she tried to talk, no one listened to her. “I can’t tell them what really happened. I can’t even look at that part of myself” (p.28). That is, she could not tell them anything because she was afraid of being judged. Since she judges herself; she thinks others will definitely judge her the same way. Yet her secret was hurting her so much she could feel it throughout her body. “There’s a beast in my gut. I can hear it scraping away at the insides of my ribs” (p.51). Her depression was...
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