Laurie Halse Anderson

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Speak: Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Spring Break has come and gone, and Melinda feels as if her house is shrinking. She goes to the mall and decides against spending the $10 in her pocket on French fries. As she watches the mall goers, she comes across Ivy, who is sketching children’s faces as they get them painted like tigers and leopards. Ivy, however, is drawing them as clowns. Ivy once again praises Melinda’s bird sculpture; in response, Melinda bites her lip. They begin to discuss Melinda’s tree, and Ivy encourages her. Melinda draws a tree in Ivy’s sketchpad, and Ivy shows her how to sketch leaves; Ivy tells Melinda that she’s getting somewhere, and Melinda agrees.
Her chance meeting with Ivy brings about a rare positive interaction in Melinda’s life. Although Ivy compliments her, Melinda is unsure about how to respond to her—as always, she is so surprised by kindness that she does not know quite how to react to it. Their collaboration on Melinda’s tree, however, symbolizes the beginning of a connection between them (similarly to the drawing of the tree that she made with David). For once, she is optimistic about her artistic process.
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon