Speak

Speak

Speak Part 1, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Melinda reports that the school board has changed the Merryweather High mascot from the Devils to the Tigers, and 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 of school spirit.
Even in the midst of her depression, Melinda still manages to be observant and funny about the ridiculous world of high school. Mr. Neck, meanwhile, demonstrates his bad temper, an attribute that will get him into trouble later in the book.
Themes
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
After the Spanish teacher calls on her, the students make fun of Melinda because she has the word for “pretty,” “linda,” in her name. In Spanish, they tell her that she is not pretty, and call her “Me-no-linda” for the rest of the period. Melinda inwardly seethes.
Once again, Melinda’s peers act in a way that is unkind and inhumane. As far as Melinda is concerned, this is the kind of world that she will exist in for the rest of her life.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Melinda develops a darkly comic theory about Kyle Rodgers’ party: she decides that aliens have abducted her, and that they are torturing her in order to see her reactions. Every terrible event that has happened to her since the party, from her mysterious trauma to her alienation by her peers, is simply an experiment that the aliens are performing on her. She comments that “[t]he aliens have a sick sense of humor.”
Melinda’s desire to disappear takes on a new form: she imagines that she has been taken to a different planet, and that none of the events she’s experiencing are real. This fantasy reveals Melinda’s detachment from her own life, which makes so little sense to her that she feels it must not be real.
Themes
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon