Laurie Halse Anderson

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Speak: Part 1, Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

On an unspecified date between Halloween and Thanksgiving, Melinda is horrified to see IT in the hallway flirting with a cheerleader. As IT passes her, he winks. Melinda feels as if her “lips are stitched together,” but is thankful for this feeling, because it keeps her from vomiting. She comments that he is her “nightmare and I can’t wake up.”
This passage marks the first appearance of the as-yet unnamed IT, a male student who sits at the center of Melinda’s trauma—and thus a clue to what that trauma was. So unable is she to communicate, however, that she cannot even think his name, let alone describe her connection to him.
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon