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I don't have my copy of the book here at home, but will try to pick it up while at school this afternoon. This novel is full of controversial issues, and if you need information and help immediately, bookrags has the novel summary available....... though for a price. Hopefully gradesaver will have a study guide available for this soon! Good Luck!
oops, I found some information for you a shmoop
AdvertisementGuilt and Blame quotes
Table of Contents
AP English Language
AP English Literature
SAT Test Prep
ACT Exam Prep
ADVERTISEMENTSpeak Theme of Guilt and Blame
It's kind of ironic. When Melinda starts ninth grade, most of the kids despise her. They blame her for getting the end-of-the-summer party busted by the cops. Although the bust did have serious consequences for the partiers, the real crime was committed against Melinda. She was raped, but she's afraid the rape was somehow her fault. She isn't even sure that was Andy Evans did to her was rape. As she struggles with her secret and her feelings of guilt, she blames those around her (her parents, friends, school personnel) for not being able to figure out what's wrong with her. Eventually, though, she comes to realize that Andy Evans is the only one to blame. Things get tricky when she begins to understand that if she doesn't start talking about what Andy did, other girls might get hurt. A sense of responsibility for others motivates her to break her silence.
I don't want to be cool. I want to grab her by the neck and shake her and scream at her to stop treating me like dirt. She didn't even bother to find out the truth – what kind of friend is that? (9.10)
Melinda blames Rachel for turning against her so easily, but she never really holds it against her. The other seven or so years they were friends is what Melinda dwells on.
"My brother got arrested at that party. He got fired because of the arrest. I can't believe you did that. Asshole." (12.10)
It's true that people really did get in trouble when Melinda called the police. But they got in trouble because they get caught breaking the law. Nobody wants to take personal responsibility. Much easier to find someone to blame.
I want to confess everything, to hand over the guilt and mistake and anger to someone else. (24.4)
Melinda is thinking of herself as a criminal here. It takes all school year for her to understand that she is instead the victim of Andy's criminal act.
Merryweather High, the primary setting of Speak is a violent, scary place, at least if you are ninth grader Melinda Sordino, school outcast. Everybody blames her for calling the police at the end-of-the-summer party and getting them all in trouble. She gets pushed in the halls, gets her hair pulled, and she's even pushed down the bleachers at the pep rally. An even more intense violence is going on inside Melinda in the form of a memory she's trying to get rid of – the memory of being raped at the party. But how can she forget the assault when her rapist, Andy Evans, goes to her school? Whenever Melinda encounters him, he commits violence against her – verbal violence, physical violence, psychological violence. Don't get the wrong idea about this novel, though. This is a hopeful story. It's about how speaking the truth can sometimes stop violence and lead to a gentler world.
When the pep rally ends, I am accidentally knocked down three rows of bleachers. (13.5)
Translation: Mean kids at the pep rally push Melinda down the bleachers. This is after one girl pokes and knees her throughout the rally. This is an assault. Heather and others who watch contribute by not helping.
IT sees me. IT smiles and winks. Good thing my lips are stitched together or I'd throw up. (22.2)
Smiling and winking can be forms of violence as this moment vividly illustrates.
I have to slice open her belly. She doesn't say a word. She is already dead. A scream starts in my gut – I can feel the cut, smell the dirt, leaves in my hair. (38.4)
In biology class, Melinda is reminded of her own experience when she starts to dissect a frog. This won't be the last time Melinda sees reflections of herself in the world of plants and animals. Melinda is now hyper-aware of violence.
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