Speak

Speak

Speak Part 4, Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On a warm day in algebra class, Melinda realizes with a start that she doesn’t want to hide in her closet anymore. After class she watches as Rachel ignores Andy, and as Greta-Ingrid insults him.
As Melinda continues to heal, her need to return to an isolated, safe space begins to fade. She can once again engage with and exist in the outside world.
Themes
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
After school, Melinda goes to her closet to collect her belongings, including the poster of Maya Angelou and the bird sculpture. She opens the door to let in fresh air, and tries to get her tree pictures off of the wall. The school is relatively deserted. As Melinda turns off the light and goes to leave, Andy Evans appears. He pushes her back into the closet, turns on the light, and shuts the door.
Of all Andy Evans’ violations of Melinda since her rape, this is by far the most dramatic and terrifying. Her closet is a safe, private space where she is hidden from everyone. His entrance makes that illusion of safety completely meaningless, once again robs Melinda of any power or agency, and puts Melinda in extreme physical danger.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Andy accuses a horrified Melinda of lying to Rachel about having been raped. He tells her that she “wanted it,” and that she’s been “spreading lies” because she’s jealous and ugly.
Sexist, cruel, and manipulative, Andy plays on Melinda’s worst fears and insecurities in order to destroy her emotionally. He does so instinctively, like the predator that he is.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling assaulted by even his words, Melinda tries to leave, but he locks the closet door. Calling her a “strange bitch” and a “freak,” Andy grabs her wrists. Although Melinda imagines the poster of Maya Angelou telling her to scream, Andy commands her not to, telling her that she “didn’t scream before,” that she’s jealous, and that he knows what she wants. He then begins to try to rape Melinda a second time. Traumatized and terrified, Melinda narrates a series of vivid and fragmented physical sensations, such as feeling his wet mouth on her face, his body against hers, and his teeth on her neck.
As Andy attempts to rape Melinda a second time, her mind disintegrates into images and impressions, just as it did the first time that he raped her. It is clear from Andy’s words, meanwhile, that he wishes to hurt Melinda at any cost. He mocks her silence, and implies that she enjoyed her rape. Meanwhile, even in the midst of this violent event, the poster of Maya Angelou still acts as a positive influence, urging Melinda to use her voice.
Themes
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
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As Andy lets go of Melinda’s wrists to give himself a free hand (presumably to unzip his fly), Melinda at last unfreezes. She screams “NNNOOO!!!” and pushes Andy off of her, into the sink. He reacts violently, punching her in the face. She continues to scream and to fight him off, desperately trying to get to the door and throwing her potpourri and her books at him. As he pins her by the throat against the closet’s sink, Melinda imagines that her fists are like useless “rabbit paws.” Feeling his body crushing her, and groping desperately “for a branch, a limb, something to hang on to,” Melinda finds a block of wood—the base of her bird sculpture. She uses it to break the mirror behind the poster of Maya Angelou. Grabbing a shard of glass, she holds it to his neck, pushing until she draws a drop of blood.
After having replayed her trauma for months on end, Melinda is actually physically reliving it. This means, however, that she can at last change the narrative, and she does so, finding her voice and screaming for Andy to stop. Her use of the bird sculpture to slice through the Maya Angelou poster and shatter the mirror, meanwhile, is a highly symbolic action. The base of the turkey sculpture becomes like the branch of a tree, something to hold onto and help her, while the mirror—which she hated because it showed her broken self back to her—in actually breaking becomes a weapon that she uses to defend herself, to reclaim her own agency. Andy’s blood, meanwhile, symbolizes that he, at last, is vulnerable and weak.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Wishing that she could “hear him scream,” Melinda realizes that Andy’slips are paralyzed. He cannot speak.” She tells him that she said no, and he nods. Suddenly there’s a pounding on the door; Melinda opens it to reveal the entire girls’ lacrosse team, led by Nicole. One of them runs to get help.
Melinda and Andy have now switched places; at her mercy, Andy finds it impossible to speak. The arrival of the girls lacrosse team, meanwhile, ensures that everyone will know about Andy’s true violent, misogynistic nature, and also suggests a kind of connection between women, a strong support group that supports Melinda.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon