Laurie Halse Anderson

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Speak: Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

In biology class, Melinda is studying fruit. The students are instructed to dissect an apple, and while David Petrakis dissects his specimen perfectly next to her, the smell causes Melinda to flash back to a happy moment in her childhood, when she visited an apple tree orchard with her parents. She remembers her father holding her mother, and the warmth of the sun on her hair. To the dismay of David, she bites her apple, but then goes on to successfully dissect it, even noticing that one of the seeds has a sprout growing from it. Ms. Keen gives Melinda extra credit, as “David rolls his eyes.” Melinda concludes, “Biology is so cool.”
A routine class activity—dissecting an apple—becomes a memory-filled experience for Melinda. She recalls a purely happy memory in which she and her parents all felt connected. This recollection is closely associated with both sunlight and trees, two positive symbols in Melinda’s life. The memory reveals Melinda’s deep nostalgia for her childhood innocence, but ends on a positive note, when she finds a seed—a symbol of life and rebirth—within her apple.
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