Laurie Halse Anderson

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Speak: Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Melinda’s Spanish teacher finally speaks in English, yelling at the class to stop pretending not to understand her so that they can escape doing homework. Melinda chooses five verbs to conjugate for her homework in order to avoid going to detention: they include “to translate,” “to flunk,” “to hide,” “to escape,” and “to forget.”
The theme of adults miscommunicating with high schoolers continues as Melinda’s Spanish teacher lays down the law with her students. Melinda’s choices of verbs are highly symbolic, revealing her fears (flunking) and her desires (hiding, escaping, and forgetting).
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon