Speak

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A popular and handsome upperclassman, Andy Evans raped Melinda at a party the summer before Speak begins. He is the main antagonist of the book, and spends much of the narrative harassing Melinda in various subtle but menacing ways. Despite his friendly façade, he also has a terrible reputation at school, with many girls reporting his violent behavior. When he begins dating Melinda’s former best friend Rachel, Melinda at last takes action, telling Rachel about the rape. After he finds out what Melinda has done, Andy tries to rape her for a second time in the supply closet that she considers her safe space. When she calls out for help and threatens him with a shard of glass, however, the whole school finally finds out about Andy’s crimes. Melinda also refers to him as “IT” and “Andy Beast” over the course of the novel.

Andy Evans Quotes in Speak

The Speak quotes below are all either spoken by Andy Evans or refer to Andy Evans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar Strauss Giroux edition of Speak published in 2011.
Part 3, Chapter 19 Quotes

I open my mouth to breathe, to scream, and his hand covers it. In my head, my voice is as clear as a bell: “NO I DON’T WANT TO!” But I can’t spit it out. I’m trying to remember how we got on the ground and where the moon went and wham! shirt up, shorts down, and the ground smells wet and dark and NO!— I’m not really here, I’m definitely back at Rachel’s, crimping my hair and gluing on fake nails, and he smells like beer and mean and he hurts me hurts me hurts me and gets up
and zips his jeans
and smiles.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, at last, Melinda describes the details of her sexual assault. Her recounting makes clear the trauma at the root of her inability to speak: during the actual moments of her rape, Melinda was unable to cry out for help or in protest. It is this experience that has kept her from having a voice since. The description also helps illuminate the reasons for Melinda's guilt and self-loathing. She believes that, since she was unable to verbally or physically fight off her rapist, that she is partially responsible for her assault. This belief is common among victims of sexual assault, and has been crippling Melinda emotionally and mentally for months. 

The idea that "I'm not really here" also helps us learn more about Melinda's character and her coping mechanisms for trauma. Throughout the novel she has longed to leave her body, her school, and her family. Readers learn here that she employed this tactic in the midst of her rape, attempting to separate herself from her own body. Despite being unable to do so at the time, she has essentially been trying to do the same thing ever since. 

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Part 4, Chapter 5 Quotes

His lips move poison and she smiles and then she kisses him wet. Not a Girl Scout kiss. He gives her the notebook. His lips move. Lava spills out my ears. She is not any part of a pretend Rachelle-chick. I can only see third-grade Rachel who liked barbecue potato chips and who braided pink embroidery thread into my hair that I wore for months until my mom made me cut it out. I rest my forehead against the prickly stucco.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans, Rachel Bruin
Related Symbols: Lips
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

Melinda's worst nightmare comes true as her rapist, Andy Evans, begins dating her ex-best friend, Rachel Bruin. This passage offers an aching contrast between adulthood and childhood. In the present, Melinda sees a girl who has tormented her all year kissing the boy who violently raped her. Flashing back to the past, however, Melinda is unable to banish thoughts of her childhood with Rachel, or to stop remembering their lost innocence and former friendship. Her positive memories of Rachel are at war with her trauma surrounding Andy. 

Even at this point, though, Melinda is unable to speak. Completely at war with herself, she remains motionless, her impulse to protect herself in conflict with her desire to tell the truth and protect Rachel. 

Part 4, Chapter 9 Quotes

I am a deer frozen in the headlights of a tractor trailer. Is he going to hurt me again? He couldn’t, not in school. Could he? Why can’t I scream, say something, do anything? Why am I so afraid?

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

Even as she continues to heal and come out of her shell, Melinda still becomes frozen and powerless when she encounters Andy Evans. So traumatized that even the sight of him robs her of agency and speech, Melinda has no way to defend herself against him. She hates herself for these feelings, believing them to be a sign of weakness.

What Melinda does not understand, however, is that her silence and fear are born out of trauma. Her inability to speak or move comes from an instinct to protect herself from the person who has deeply and irrevocably hurt her. A vivid and tragic representation of trauma, this passage helps readers to understand just how terribly Andy Evans has harmed Melinda, and how damaging his presence is for her on an emotional, psychological, and physical level. 

When I close the closet door behind me, I bury my face into the clothes on the left side of the rack, clothes that haven’t fit for years. I stuff my mouth with old fabric and scream until there are no sounds left under my skin.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Related Symbols: Melinda’s Closet
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

After having seen Andy Evans, Melinda literally retreats into her childhood, heading to the back of her bedroom closet to scream. It is of course symbolic that Melinda chooses to take out her frustration, rage, and fear while surrounded by "clothes that haven't fit for years." Forced into adulthood long before she was ready, Melinda buries herself in memories of the childhood to which she can never return. 

Just as when she howls at the pep rally, Melinda specifically screams where there is no one to hear her, even stuffing old clothes in her mouth in order to silence herself. Even now, Melinda is still silencing herself, unable to believe that anyone will listen to or care about her pain and trauma. Rather than deal with that disappointment, she tries instead to isolate and muffle herself, choosing to be alone and in anguish rather than trust those who have previously let her down. 

Part 4, Chapter 13 Quotes

I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

Sick and delirious, Melinda admits how exhausting it is to constantly deal with her anger, depression, frustration, and trauma day after day. Since she cannot communicate with anyone, the only people she can talk to are the "whispers in my mind," most of which are filled with self-loathing, shame, and regret. Being constantly at war with herself has taken its toll: Melinda longs to escape through "amnesia" or a "coma," desperate to stop reliving the traumatic memories of her rape and her subsequent isolation. 

This quote is especially significant because it is one of the first times that Melinda uses the word "rape" in the book. Although in a dark place, she is at last admitting to herself what actually happened the previous summer. By naming the event, she is beginning to take ownership of it.

Meanwhile, Melinda's feeling that Andy has somehow violated her mind makes a great deal of sense. By forcing himself on her, Andy has isolated Melinda from her friends, ripped her from her childhood, and thrown her into a deep depression. His physical violence towards her has left her mentally damaged and tormented, unable to escape the traumatic memories surrounding her assault. 

Part 4, Chapter 25 Quotes

I reach in and wrap my fingers around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evans’s neck. He freezes. I push just hard enough to raise one drop of blood. He raises his arms over his head. My hand quivers. I want to insert the glass all the way through his throat, I want to hear him scream. I look up. I see the stubble on his chin, a fleck of white in the corner of his mouth. His lips are paralyzed. He cannot speak. That’s good enough.
Me: “I said no.”

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Related Symbols: Melinda’s Closet , Mirrors, Lips, Blood
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

After Andy Evans attempts to rape Melinda a second time, she tells him no, and then defends herself with a shard of glass from a mirror in her closet. One of the most significant acts in the book, Melinda's defeat of Andy has huge narrative and symbolic implications. 

Andy has entered Melinda's closet, the one place where she felt safe—even before attempting to physically assault her again, he has already violated her. Subsequently, although Melinda screams no, he continues to try to rape her, proving that he would have done so over the summer whether or not she protested. 

Throughout the book, Melinda detests mirrors and her reflection, but here, however, a mirror becomes her most vital tool, as she uses a broken shard to threaten Andy. Although he has metaphorically broken her, Melinda is still able to fight back, using pieces of her own fractured identity to defend herself.

With his life in danger, Andy goes completely silent; as Melinda tells us, "He cannot speak." By raping her the previous summer, Andy took away Melinda's voice and her agency. Now, not only has she taken those things back, but she has temporarily silenced her assaulter, the man responsible for her anguish and isolation. She has made him utterly powerless, and she uses this opportunity to utter the sentence that she has been longing to say for months: "I said no." 

Part 4, Chapter 26 Quotes

IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow.
I look at my homely sketch. It doesn’t need anything. Even through the river in my eyes I can see that. It isn’t perfect and that makes it just right.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Related Symbols: Trees, Seeds, Plants, and Forests, Birds, Water, Ice, and Melting, Warmth and Sunlight
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

Having finally created a tree that expresses her true self and her hidden trauma, Melinda is at last able to admit the truth to herself and to the readers, and explain what happened in clear terms. She at last cleanses herself of her guilt, acknowledging that her rape was not her fault, and that she will no longer remain frozen from the pain of the experience.

Creating art has indeed become a healing experience for Melinda, as a representation of her imperfect life, and her continued potential for growth. Although she has longed to escape throughout the narrative, Melinda now understands that flight is not possible; the only way she can continue living is to acknowledge her trauma and to continue growing as a person.

Melinda describes her tears as she finishes the sketch by saying that there is a "river" in her eyes. Throughout the novel, metaphors of freezing and ice have described Melinda's cold and static emotional state. Now, as she at last emerges, her "river" of tears represents the fact that she has thawed internally, and is ready to face the world again as a person with agency and a voice. 

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Andy Evans Character Timeline in Speak

The timeline below shows where the character Andy Evans appears in Speak. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 22: Nightmare
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On an unspecified date between Halloween and Thanksgiving, Melinda is horrified to see IT in the hallway flirting with a cheerleader. As IT passes her, he winks. Melinda feels... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12: Hard Labor
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...on one of the flaps, bleeding everywhere. As she feels the pain, she suddenly sees IT’s face in her head. Her father, meanwhile, is furious about how many calendars she has... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 20: Naming the Monster
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As she is putting a poster up in the metal shop, IT comes in. Melinda freezes, feeling as if “flecks of metal” are slicing through her. When... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 22: Can It
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The Marthas suddenly get excited as Andy Evans—whom Melinda identifies as IT—comes into the cafeteria. Emily reveals that he called her last... (full context)
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Andy Evans walks over and begins to flirt with Emily while standing behind Melinda. Melinda tries... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2: Cold Weather and Buses
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After deciding to go to a bakery called Fayette’s for donuts, Melinda sees Andy Evans (IT, as she calls him) in the parking lot. She freezes on top of... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8: Cutting Out Hearts
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...locker; at first she believes that it’s a prank; then she worries that it’s from Andy; last, she wonders if it’s from David Petrakis. Unable to even open the envelope because... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 11: MISS
...and the other of whom is a pyromaniac. The punishment becomes a nightmare, however, when Andy Evans (whom Melinda now calls Andy Beast) enters the room and sits down next to... (full context)
When Mr. Neck is preoccupied, Andy blows in Melinda’s ear, and she fantasizes about killing him. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 19: A Night to Remember
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Suddenly a senior (Andy Evans) walked out of the trees, called Melinda beautiful and asked her to dance. Drunk,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2: The Wet Season
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...to a dog, Melinda comments that she has been going to classes and passing tests. Andy Evans (or Andy Beast as she calls him), meanwhile, has joined the International Club and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 5: My Life as a Spy
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Melinda is horrified to discover that Rachel and Greta-Ingrid have gone to the movies with Andy, and now are adoringly following him around everywhere. She listens in disgust as Rachel babbles... (full context)
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Melinda follows Rachel and her friends to the foreign language wing, and watches as Andy flirts with Greta-Ingrid and Rachel. Rachel eventually ends up on Andy’s lap, and when the... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6: Thin Atmosphere
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...to her closet, Melinda works through her options, wondering how to warn Rachel away from Andy, and discarding option after option, fearing that no one will believe her no matter what... (full context)
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...won’t listen. Finally, she disguises her handwriting and writes a note to Rachel saying that Andy Evans “is not what he pretends to be,” and that he “attacked a ninth-grader.” She... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 9: No Justice, No Peace
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...children crying…squirming under the weight of doubt, guilt. Fear.” She is grateful that at least Andy is not present this time. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11: The Beast Prowls
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...Freeman goes off to a faculty meeting. Melinda feels safe in the art room, until Andy suddenly enters and turns the lights off. Melinda feels like a rabbit once again, and... (full context)
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Rachel comes in, saying that she’s been waiting for Andy outside. She wears a necklace with mirrors on it. Andy gets up, ripping Melinda’s paper... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 13: Oprah, Sally Jessy, Jerry, and Me
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...decides that Oprah would say that she was, because she was only 13, and because Andy put his hand over her mouth; it doesn’t matter that she was drunk. She imagines... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 18: Little Writing on the Wall
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...feeling exposed and cold, Melinda musters her courage and asks Ivy what she meant about Andy Evans being trouble. Ivy responds that she’s heard rumors about his sexual aggression. Melinda borrows... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 19: Prom Preparation
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...disbelief when she hears the Rachel’s mom is letting her go to the prom with Andy. She decides that Rachel must have ignored her note, and wonders whether she showed it... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 20: Communication 101
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Seeing the initials R.B. + A.E. (Rachel Bruin + Andy Evans) on Rachel’s notes, Melinda asks Rachel about the senior; Rachel responds happily, until Melinda... (full context)
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...Finally, Rachel asks about the identity of the rapist; when Melinda replies that it was Andy Evans, Rachel responds with fury, yelling at Melinda that she’s a jealous, sick freak. Rachel... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 24: Postprom
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...decorations so much. Melinda imagines that the Marthas are furious. Rachel, meanwhile, broke up with Andy in the middle of prom because he was groping her during a slow song. Afterwards... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 25: Prey
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...doesn’t want to hide in her closet anymore. After class she watches as Rachel ignores Andy, and as Greta-Ingrid insults him. (full context)
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...The school is relatively deserted. As Melinda turns off the light and goes to leave, Andy Evans appears. He pushes her back into the closet, turns on the light, and shuts... (full context)
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Andy accuses a horrified Melinda of lying to Rachel about having been raped. He tells her... (full context)
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...leave, but he locks the closet door. Calling her a “strange bitch” and a “freak,” Andy grabs her wrists. Although Melinda imagines the poster of Maya Angelou telling her to scream,... (full context)
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As Andy lets go of Melinda’s wrists to give himself a free hand (presumably to unzip his... (full context)
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Wishing that she could “hear him scream,” Melinda realizes that Andy’s “lips are paralyzed. He cannot speak.” She tells him that she said no, and he... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 26: Final Cut
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...says that she hopes Melinda is okay. The lacrosse team has told the school about Andy’s rape attempt, and Melinda wryly notes that suddenly, at the end of the school year,... (full context)
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...difficult). As she does so, she acknowledges that she cannot escape what happened to her: “IT happened.” Andy Evans raped her when she was drunk, young, and vulnerable, but it was... (full context)
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...to look at the tree, and Melinda studies the bruises on her own arm from Andy’s attack. Mr. Freeman commands her not to cry in the studio because the salt from... (full context)