Laurie Halse Anderson

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Speak: Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Melinda goes to Heather’s house, which is pristine and perfectly decorated. They are greeted by Heather’s talkative mother, who attempts to learn more about Melinda. Melinda comments that “it’s nice that she cares.” Since Heather’s bedroom is still being decorated, the two girls go into the basement. Heather runs on the treadmill and contemplates what clubs to join in order to improve her social standing; she thinks the International Club and the Select Chorus would be good choices, although she’s also contemplating joining the musical or tutoring at the elementary school. She asks Melinda about her friends from last year, and inquires what Melinda wants to do, but receives no answer. Instead, Melinda shoots down her suggestions, eats popcorn, and watches TV.
Melinda has decided to make Heather her pseudo-friend, yet makes no real effort to open herself up. This relationship is all about appearances for her, rather than real connection. Melinda also demonstrates her obsession with appearances as she notes the details of Heather’s seemingly perfect house, and feels envious about her involved mother (in contrast to Melinda’s absent mother). Her lack of communication with Heather, meanwhile, makes obvious the problem with their friendship: Melinda wants someone to make her feel less lonely, yet is completely unwilling to engage in any real way.
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Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
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As Heather lectures her about being more involved, saying that ninth-graders need to become a part of their high school community, Melinda remembers how she used to be “happy” and “driven” like Heather. Now, however, she finds her fellow student’s pep and chatter annoying. When Heather proposes that they make a list of their goals, Melinda inwardly comments that her only goal “ is to go home and take a nap.”
Melinda once again displays the apathy that is characteristic of depression. Although she remembers how motivated, happy, and active she used to be, she sees no way of healing or of regaining her former innocence. This feeling is at the root of Melinda’s depression: she feels that she will always be damaged, and so sees no point in making an effort.
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
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