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Melinda’s Bedroom Symbol Analysis

Melinda’s Bedroom Symbol Icon
While Melinda’s closet is a haven for her hide from her new, traumatized existence, her bedroom is a symbol of the childhood innocence that she has lost. Adorned with pink roses, the room looks like a child’s, and throughout the novel, Melinda feels out-of-place and uncomfortable within it. Of course, all high school students sometimes feel uncertain and scared about growing up. Melinda who has had her childhood ripped away from her by her rape, is even more terrified than most. She hates her room because it demonstrates that she is no longer a child; at the same time, she refuses to decorate it, because that would entail actually admitting that she needs to mature and move forward. At the end of the novel, however, Melinda asks her mother whether she can redecorate (though the book ends before she actually does).

Melinda’s Bedroom Quotes in Speak

The Speak quotes below all refer to the symbol of Melinda’s Bedroom. 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 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

My room belongs to an alien. It is a postcard of who I was in fifth grade.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker)
Related Symbols: Melinda’s Bedroom
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

As she introduces readers to her childlike bedroom, Melinda reveals both her distance from her past self, and her longing for a time of innocence (fifth grade). By calling herself an "alien," Melinda makes clear that she no longer feels like the same person she was at age eleven. This would make sense for any adolescent, but for Melinda, it is especially and painfully true, considering the act of violence and violation that prematurely forced her into adulthood. 

At the same time, Melinda clearly misses the girl she was in fifth grade. The room is a "postcard," a message written by someone you miss and wish to see. Every time that she steps into her room, Melinda is reminded of the innocence that she has lost, and the child that she used to be. She is also reminded that appearance and reality are not the same thing—that no matter how childlike her room is, she herself is no longer a child, and never will be again. 

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Melinda’s Bedroom Symbol Timeline in Speak

The timeline below shows where the symbol Melinda’s Bedroom 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
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...swim, “understood” Melinda’s difficult relationship with her parents, and didn’t make fun of Melinda’s childish bedroom. She wishes she could “tell” Rachel “what really happened," but does not. As their eyes... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: Home. Work.
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
In her bedroom, Melinda describes how out of place she feels in it, having decorated it with her... (full context)
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...concludes that she definitely does not have “a dryad face.” She then takes down her bedroom mirror and puts it “in the back of my closet, facing the wall.” (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15: Acting
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...on the “new carpet”). She notes Heather’s artificially perfect room, and wishes that her own bedroom reflected her personality. As Heather blathers about joining the musical and paints her nails, Melinda... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19: Halloween
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...too old to trick-or-treat (she doesn’t want to in any case), Melinda retreats to her bedroom. As she watches the trick-or-treaters, and listens to her parents’ squabbling, she remembers dressing up... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6: Giving Thanks
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...attempts to boil the turkey in order to defrost it, and Melinda retreats to her bedroom. (full context)
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Melinda hides in her bedroom and reads magazines as her parents fight. When she emerges, she sees her father chopping... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 21: Rent Round 3
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...her parents. Afterwards, however, she writes a runaway note and goes to sleep in her bedroom closet. Her mother finds her, gives her a pillow, and closes the door, not even... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6: Thin Atmosphere
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...She idly wonders whether a janitor would help her move her closet belongings to her bedroom, to make it feel “more like home.” She imagines the poster of Maya Angelou telling... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 7: Growing Pains
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...art room, but she does not—nor does she belong with the Marthas or in her bedroom. People stare as Melinda throws out her linoleum block; Mr. Freeman gives her Kleenex and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11: The Beast Prowls
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression 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”... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 19: Prom Preparation
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...showed up at Melinda’s house, to Melinda’s mother’s delight. Feeling self conscious about her babyish bedroom, Melinda listens as Heather cries about how awful it is to be working as a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...she has said yes; she responds gleefully, and even offers to help Melinda redo her bedroom. Melinda responds that she doesn’t want Heather to redecorate her room, and that she will... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 20: Communication 101
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...standing up to Heather, planting marigolds, and asking her mother if she can redecorate her bedroom, Melinda attributes her newfound confidence to the spring weather. She decides to talk to Rachel. (full context)