Speak

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Speak Part 4, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Melinda stays after school to practice creating chalk drawings of her tree, while Mr. 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 imagines her heart running away from her and leaving bloody footprints on her drawing. She inhales his cologne as he turns on the lights, wondering if this is simply a “repeating nightmare” from which she will never wake up. He asks her if she’s seen Rachel, but Melinda doesn’t respond. He walks towards her and sits on her drawing, smudging it. He continues to ask why she won’t speak, and Melinda clenches her jaw so hard that she feels like her teeth are “crumbl[ing] to dust.” She wonders if he’s going to hurt her again, and cannot understand why she’s unable to “scream, say something” or “do anything.”
With every interaction, Andy Evans seems to get bolder and more bullying, whereas Melinda grows more frightened and powerless. This violation is even worse than the others, because it occurs in Melinda’s safe space, the art room. She once again imagines herself as a rabbit, demonstrating how vulnerable she feels, and physically hurts herself by clenching her jaw. Melinda understands that she should be able to at least verbally defend herself, but yet again finds herself completely unable to do so. It is as if she is replaying the night of her rape over and over, forever failing to call out for help.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
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 in the process. Ivy, meanwhile, walks in and senses that something is wrong. Andy and Rachel leave, and Ivy comments that Andy’s a “creep” and “trouble with a capital T.”
Wherever he goes, Andy damages and destroys things that Melinda cares about (in this case, her drawings). While Rachel is oblivious to his true evil, Ivy’s low opinion of him is proof that others in the school see past his charming, handsome mask.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Melinda doesn’t respond; instead she walks straight home, hides in her own bedroom closet, buries her face into clothes from her childhood, and screams into the “old fabric” until “there are no sounds left.”
Melinda’s breakdown in her old clothes is highly significant; no matter how much she tries to revert back to her innocent childhood, her trauma will always follow her.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon