Speak

Speak

Blood Symbol Icon
Melinda is hyperaware of blood throughout the novel. An incredibly charged symbol, blood represents both life and death, and also is especially connected to the idea of adult womanhood (because of menstruation). Blood is also significant because, presumably, Melinda bled during her rape. Whenever Melinda draws blood, either intentionally or unintentionally, it represents the pain that she feels but cannot speak. Frequently (and disturbingly), Melinda reacts positively to the idea of bleeding; to her, blood is proof that she has been injured. Although she cannot tell people that her mind has been harmed, blood is visible evidence that the body has been harmed. This positive association with bleeding makes it especially upsetting when Melinda’s mother reacts dismissively and coldly when she sees that her daughter has been harming herself; Melinda has essentially shown evidence of her suffering, and her mother has ignored it. Contrast this instance with the moment in which Melinda draws “one drop of blood” from the neck of her rapist, Andy Evans. He drew her blood and rendered her powerless; and now Melinda is returning the favor.

Blood Quotes in Speak

The Speak quotes below all refer to the symbol of Blood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar Strauss Giroux edition of Speak published in 2011.
Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

I look for shapes in my face. Could I put a face in my tree, like a dryad from Greek mythology? Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed-up horror of a mouth. Definitely not a dryad face. I can’t stop biting my lips. It looks like my mouth belongs to someone else, someone I don’t even know.
I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker)
Related Symbols: Trees, Seeds, Plants, and Forests, Mirrors, Lips, Blood
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dol

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in cu

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Part 2, Chapter 21 Quotes

I open up a paper clip and scratch it across the inside of my left wrist. Pitiful. If a suicide attempt is a cry for help, then what is this? A whimper, a peep? I draw little windowcracks of blood, etching line after line until it stops hurting. It looks like I arm-wrestled a rosebush.
Mom sees the wrist at breakfast.
Mom: “I don’t have time for this, Melinda.”

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Melinda’s mother (speaker)
Related Symbols: Trees, Seeds, Plants, and Forests, Blood
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptat

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 3, Chapter 8 Quotes

I rock, thumping my head against the cinder-block wall. A half-forgotten holiday has unveiled every knife that sticks inside me, every cut. No Rachel, no Heather, not even a silly, geeky boy who would like the inside girl I think I am.

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Heather, Rachel Bruin, David Petrakis
Related Symbols: Melinda’s Closet, Blood
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa q

Part 4, Chapter 25 Quotes

I reach in and wrap my fingers around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evans’s neck. He freezes. I push just hard enough to raise one drop of blood. He raises his arms over his head. My hand quivers. I want to insert the glass all the way through his throat, I want to hear him scream. I look up. I see the stubble on his chin, a fleck of white in the corner of his mouth. His lips are paralyzed. He cannot speak. That’s good enough.
Me: “I said no.”

Related Characters: Melinda Sordino (speaker), Andy Evans
Related Symbols: Melinda’s Closet, Mirrors, Lips, Blood
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehende

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore e

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Blood Symbol Timeline in Speak

The timeline below shows where the symbol Blood appears in Speak. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4: Sanctuary
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...comments, however, that the clay streaks his hands leave on the chalkboard look like dried blood. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12: Hard Labor
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...head. Her father, meanwhile, is furious about how many calendars she has ruined with her blood. Melinda comments that at the end of vacation she is actually happy to go back... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 17: Model Citizen
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...shadow, she did buy black and red nail polish called Black Death to match her bloody, bitten nails. Next, she sarcastically decides, she will buy a shirt in “tubercular gray.” (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 21: Rent Round 3
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...a “[p]itiful” suicide attempt, and a “whimper” for help. She watches as “little windowcracks of blood” appear, and doesn’t stop scratching until “it stops hurting.” When her mother sees the wrist,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 23: Dark Art
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Melinda gashes herself with her chisel, getting blood on the linoleum; all the students turn to stare at her. She refuses to go... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8: Cutting Out Hearts
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
...so hard that she begins bleeding. As David passes her a tissue to blot the blood, Melinda notes that it doesn’t even hurt. All that hurts is seeing other people flirting... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 19: A Night to Remember
...herself that it is winter and she is on her roof. Noticing that there is blood on the snow, she realizes that she’s bitten through her lip and will need stitches,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11: The Beast Prowls
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...like a rabbit once again, and imagines her heart running away from her and leaving bloody footprints on her drawing. She inhales his cologne as he turns on the lights, wondering... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 25: Prey
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...of glass, she holds it to his neck, pushing until she draws a drop of blood. (full context)