David Petrakis’s lawyer has prevailed over Mr. Neck, which means that David has begun to take over social studies class with “drawn-out, rambling opinions.” The rest of the class is happy that Mr. Neck is distracted from the rest of them. The teacher announces that all students who have failed his tests must write an extra-credit essay, and Melinda chooses to focus on the suffragettes, American women who fought for the right to vote. She becomes interested in the topic, excited by the idea of protesting for women’s rights.
Melinda’s suffragette report represents a rare instance in which she actually gets excited about school. The reason is obvious; a powerless, voiceless woman, Melinda identifies with women of the past who struggled to gain power and make their voices heard.
Melinda is proud of her report, calling it “the best report ever,” and even hands it in on time. Mr. Neck, however, knowing that Melinda refuses to speak, tells her that she needs to deliver it orally to the class in order to get credit. Melinda is silent.
Melinda’s excitement about her report is ruined when Mr. Neck decides to cruelly pick on her. Yet again, an authority figure within her life has disappointed and betrayed her.