Speak

Point of view

Speak is a first-person, diary-like narrative. Written in the voice of Melinda Sordino, it features lists, subheadings, spaces between paragraphs and script-like dialogue. The fragmented style mimics Melinda's trauma.[1][2] The choppy sentences and blank spaces on the pages relate to Melinda's fascination with Cubism.[2] According to Chris McGee and DeTora, Anderson's writing style allows the reader to see how Melinda struggles with "producing the standard, cohesive narrative" expected in a teen novel.[2][3] Melinda's distracted narrative reiterates the idea that "no one really wants to hear what you have to say".[2] In her article, "Like Falling Up into a Storybook", Barbara Tannert-Smith says,

"In Speak, Anderson of necessity has to employ a nonlinear plot and disruptive temporality to emphasize Melinda's response to her traumatic experience: the novelist has to convey stylistically exactly how her protagonist experiences self-estrangement and a sense of shattered identity".[1]

By disrupting the present with flashbacks of the past, Anderson further illustrates the structure of trauma.[1] Anderson organizes the plot around the four quarters of Melinda's freshman year, starting the story in the middle of Melinda's struggle.[3] Anderson superimposed the fragmented trauma plot-line upon this linear high school narrative, making the narrative more believable. It is one of the most inspiring books of all time. [3]


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