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Mr. Neck Character Analysis

A bullying bigot, Mr. Neck is Melinda’s social studies teacher, often singling her out for mistreatment because of her silence and sullenness. When his son doesn’t get a job as a firefighter, Mr. Neck goes on an anti-immigrant rant, and earns the anger of David Petrakis, who eventually ends up protesting him along with Melinda. To Melinda, Mr. Neck is the epitome of everything wrong with adulthood—he uses his power to hurt people, refuses to listen, and is blind to anything that contradicts his point of view.
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Mr. Neck Character Timeline in Speak

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Neck appears in Speak. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Welcome to Merryweather High
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...after hesitating too long as she looks for somewhere to sit, Melinda is reprimanded by Mr. Neck , her future social studies teacher. Another isolated student, who introduces herself as “Heather from... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: Our Teachers are the Best...
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...freewriting time to mock Hairwoman. In social studies, meanwhile, Melinda is stuck with the bullying Mr. Neck . She comments that the school social studies curriculum is the same every year (American... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: Spotlight
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
As Melinda tries to run away, Mr. Neck stops her. She is unable to explain why she is leaving, and Mr. Neck gives... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Sanctuary
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
After lunch Melinda has art, which she calls a “dream.” In contrast to Hairwoman and Mr. Neck , her art teacher Mr. Freeman is friendly and open-minded; his classroom, meanwhile, is full... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11: Burrow
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...a stack of books, and adds that she “might even read one.” Melinda then evades Mr. Neck (also after missing homework), and stumbles upon an old janitor’s closet in the Senior’s Wing... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 20: Name Name Name
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
...comments that the Ecology Club is planning a protest because tigers are an endangered species . Mr. Neck , meanwhile, is furious about the protest, believing that it shows insubordination and a lack... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5: First Amendment
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Mr. Neck furiously begins a rant against immigrants, whom he claims have kept his son from getting... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
After Mr. Neck claims that “America should have closed her borders in 1900,” the class debates, until one... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9: First Amendment, Second Verse
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
...the students are rebellious, and David Petrakis is fighting for his freedom of speech in Mr. Neck’s social studies class. As Melinda watches, David turns on a tape recorder every time Mr.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
...volunteer, and learns that the Petrakises’ lawyer has threatened to sue the school district and Mr. Neck . The next day, David has also set up a video camera in the back... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 11: MISS
...sign requiring her to behave well, and when she cuts class, MISS is her punishment . Mr. Neck is supervising Melinda along with two other students, one of whom is a skinhead, and... (full context)
When Mr. Neck is preoccupied, Andy blows in Melinda’s ear, and she fantasizes about killing him. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 8: Gag Order
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
David Petrakis’s lawyer has prevailed over Mr. Neck , which means that David has begun to take over social studies class with “drawn-out,... (full context)
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...her report, calling it “the best report ever,” and even hands it in on time . Mr. Neck , however, knowing that Melinda refuses to speak, tells her that she needs to deliver... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 9: No Justice, No Peace
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Melinda is enraged that Mr. Neck is forcing her to read her report just to bully her, and asks David Petrakis... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 10: Advice from a Smart Mouth
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Melinda tells David Petrakis that Mr. Neck gave her a D on her report. He comments that her parents should also sue;... (full context)