Speak

Speak

Poster of Maya Angelou Symbol Analysis

Poster of Maya Angelou Symbol Icon
Although Melinda doesn’t know it, her choice of a poster of Maya Angelou to cover her own reflection in her janitor’s closet is an appropriate one. A famous African American writer, Angelou writes eloquently about her own rape in the memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird sings. Throughout the year, Melinda imagines the poster as an empowering force, such as when it urges her to tell Rachel the truth about Andy. In the end, Melinda actually rips through the poster in order to shatter the mirror behind it to use as a weapon against Andy. The action is a deeply symbolic one, as the poster has literally allowed her to use a piece of herself—in the form of the jagged edge of a mirror—to fight back against her rapist.
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Poster of Maya Angelou Symbol Timeline in Speak

The timeline below shows where the symbol Poster of Maya Angelou appears in Speak. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 2: Closet Space
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...in her closet. As she redecorates, she covers its mirror (which she hates) with a poster of Maya Angelou (author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings), whose books the school board has... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 18: Stupid Stupid
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...after school rather than ride home on the bus with her peers. She greets her poster of Maya Angelou , her Cubist tree, and her turkey-bone bird sculpture, and curls up for a nap.... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6: Thin Atmosphere
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
...by her closet’s bad smells (despite the potpourri that she’s brought in), and imagines that the poster of Maya Angelou wants her to tell Rachel. Still suffocating, she takes off her sweatshirt and wishes for... (full context)
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
...her closet belongings to her bedroom, to make it feel “more like home.” She imagines the poster of Maya Angelou telling her that she needs to help Rachel, even if her friend won’t listen. Finally,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 25: Prey
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Depression Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma 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... (full context)
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Communication versus Silence Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...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... (full context)