Speak

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Speak Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Although she can only draw them in her closet (rather than in art class where people watch her), Melinda works hard on Heather’s posters for two full weeks, drawing “basketball players shooting cans through a hoop” with a caption that reads, “BRING A CAN, SAVE A LIFE.” She reflects that she could stay in her closet “forever.” Heather, meanwhile, has another modeling gig, and asks Melinda to hang the posters.
Although Melinda is tentatively reaching out to the school community by drawing posters, she still feels self-conscious all the time, an emotion that drives her to isolate herself in her closet.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
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 he sees her, he whispers, “‘Freshmeat’” in her ear. Terrified by his presence and his scent, Melinda drops her supplies and runs out, nauseated and petrified. She later lies to Heather, saying that she put the poster supplies away (when in fact she lost them when she ran out of the metal shop).
What should be a positive moment—Melinda is sharing her posters with the school—becomes instantly terrifying because of IT. Powerless, frozen, and silent. Melinda is utterly unable to defend herself against him. She hates herself for her cowardice, not understanding that she is clearly traumatized.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon