Disruptive Technologies

Speak By: Laurie Halse Anderson published: 1999 by Penguin Putnam Books.

== Film ==

Speak Sundance Film Festival Production 2004 93 minutes Directed Dy: Jessica Sharzer Starring: Kristen Stewart, Eric Lively, Elizabeth Perkins, D.B. and Steve Zahn.

== Plot ==

Speak is the narrative of a young outcast, Melinda Sordino, who spends most of her freshman year of high school in silence. This novel takes place inside her head as she goes about her public and private life. Melinda is ostracized by her fellow classmates and old friends because she called the cops while at an end-of-summer party.

She is half-rescued by a transfer student from Ohio named Heather, who wants to get Melinda's friendship for selfish reasons of her own, although she too, finds it difficult to enter the social pipeline without ditching our main character. As Melinda is blamed for getting a couple kids arrested due to her calling the cops, she finds her popularity waning.

Her silence is provoked by her desire to share her “secret” but her inability to confront the happenings of the party. The more she allows the silence to take hold of her, the harder it becomes to speak. When she does try to tell her old friend Rachel what happened at the party, Rachel accuses her of lying because she is jealous of Rachel’s popularity. Melinda Sordino.

== Characters==

*Melinda Sordino: The main character of the story, who called the cops at a party after being raped by senior, Andy Evans. Because of this, she loses her friends, becomes the enemy at school, and is nicknamed "Squealer" by people in the school. The story is told through her point of view as she deals with her depression and low self-esteem. She misbehaves in school and other places, and tries to disappear by not speaking.

Heather from Ohio: Heather quickly befriends Melinda at the beginning of the story, but basically for her own selfish reasons of climbing the social ladder at the school. She is very involved in school (wants them both to sign up for 5 activities, one for every day of the week) and very talkitive. She is also very needy and perky. She becomes involved with The Marthas, who use her to decorate things. Heather enlists Melinda to help her with these things, and Melinda just says yes. Heather finally leaves Melinda for The Marthas and Melinda is alone. Heather, later on, comes begging to Melinda for help decorating a room, but Melinda says no.

Melinda's Parents: Don't pay much attetion to Melinda, and almost completly oblivious to her and her pain. They do give her a sketch book and pencils since they noticed her drawing (which makes Melinda start to cry, since she realizes they do notice her). Both parents are busy and seem to rarely be home. The mother (Joan) even says to Melinda "I don't have time for this" when she sees cut marks on Melinda's wrist from Melinda cutting herself with a paperclip. Overall, there doesn't seem to be much contact between Melinda and her parents.

Basketball Pole: Tall guy on the basketball team who can't shoot a free throw. Melinda is asked to teach him how to throw a foul shot (since she hits them over and over and over again), but she never does. Basketball Pole is the one responsible for accidentally hitting Melinda with mashed potatoes and embarrassing her the first day of class during lunch.

The Marthas: Named after "somebody in the Bible" but now followers of "St. Martha of the Glue Gun" (Martha Stuwart). A elitest group of female high school, prepy fassion police who recruit Heather, though she never passes "freshman member probation". The Marthas enjoy coordinating outfits, helping out in the community, and doing good deeds for teachers.

Mr. Stetman: The Math teacher specializing in Algebra who feels the need to continually justify the importance of his subject in the world. A "nice guy" according to Melinda.

Mr. Freeman: Melinda's art teacher who is one of the few who seem to try to understand and help Melinda. He inspires her and in the end, it is Mr. Freeman who Melinda chooses to confide in. (It should be noted that usually Melinda reserves the real names for those teachers whose classes she either does well in or enjoys more than others; she tends to make up names, such as Mr. Neck, for those teachers, faculty and students who tend to pigeonhole her and make her uneasy.)

"Hairwoman": English teacher who continually has her head down and face hidden behind her hair.

Rachel/Rachelle: Hangs out with the foreign ex-change students and is continually changing her "look." Starts dating Andy Evans and goes to prom with him, even though Melinda continously tries to warn her, but Rachel just thinks she wants attention and is lying.

David Petrakis: Melinda's biology lab partner. A smart boy who Melinda soon starts to admire. He speaks up in class during a debate with Mr. Neck, and after finally leaving the room (against Mr. Neck's wishes) he soon becomes Melinda's friend. She even says that he said so much with so little words by leaving the room, and that she must find out more about him. He's also a potential love interest for Melinda, though she cannot begin to consider dating anyone until she deals with Andy Evans.

Ms. Keen: Biology Science teacher

Mr. Neck: Social Studies teacher, Men's Basketball Coach and In-School Detention Offical who does not like Melinda.

Principal Princial: The Principal

Guidance Counselor: The guidance counsler tries to understand why Melinda doesn't speak, but just blames it on the parents since when they come in for a meeting, they begin to fight

Andy Evans : also known as "The Beast" "IT" by Melinda and "Greek God" by others: Andy Evans is the guy that every girl likes because he seems sweet, but still a tiny bit dangerous. Melinda knows better because he raped her at a party during the summer when she was too drunk to say no. She finally comes clean about the rape and many students are happy about it because they too have been mistreated by Andy (not necessarily always by rape, sometimes it was just feeling them up or being mean). He continues to torture Melinda mentally throughout the book, and at then end tries to assault her again because she began telling people about the rape, though she stops him and is soon rescued by the girl's lacrosse team.

Ms. Connors: PE teacher who admires Melinda's skill and tries to get her to particapate more. She never really succeeds.

Ivy: An arty ex-friend who is in Melinda's art class. They slowly rekindle a relationship after Ivy's anger begins to melt and they connect through their art work (as well as their fears) over the year.

Nicole: Ex-friend that is a major jock and in Melinda's PE class. Nicole is in the right place at the right time and comes to Melinda's rescue at the end of the book.

Jessica: One of Melinda's friends who moves to Nevada at the end of the summer. "Mostly Ivy's friend anyway."


The tree: the tree in Melinda's front yard is symbolic of Melinda. The tree has had damage done to it and is sick, and it cannot begin to grow again until the sick and dead parts are removed. This is like Melinda, she is damaged from the rape she suffered, and cannot begin to grow until she confronts and deals with the problem.

The Closet: This is symbolic of secrets (where Melinda tries to hide). It is also a sanctuary for Melinda, as she hides and relaxes in the Janitor's Closet.

Melinda's Mouth: her mouth is scabby from biting it so much, symbolising her internal pain.

The Marthas: symbolic of cliques in schools

Mr. Freeman: symbolic of individualism, expression, and free thoughts, as he is not afraid to stand up to the school board.

* Means to Ignore and search for the Source Somewhere else Because it's probablly False




== Young Readers ==

Link: Female, 17, Liberty High School, Ca.

Did you like the way the book was written? Link: Yes, I thought it was written well. It was easy to understand,not confusing like most books.

Can you relate to anything that Melinda is going through? Link: In someways I guess. Being an outcast... I'm sure eveyone can relate to that once in awhile.

Favorite part: Link: I dont know

Are there students like this in your school? Link: Not that I know of...

Does this resemble high school life or is it completely fictional? Link: In some ways it resembles highschool life. When someone does something that many others dont like they normaly become an outcast. Or made fun of, teased.

Do you have a teacher that has inspiried you? Link: No

Would you like to see books like this in a regular classroom? Link: yeah, I would.

== Weblinks ==

A book review from Teenreads.com [1]

CNN Book Review [2]

Teen Health Article Addressing Date Rape [3]

A Rape Story [4]


This is a link to the National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder site. PTSD is often experienced after rape or other life changing/threatening events and can often result in voluntary discontinuation of vocal communication.

Take this Quiz! How much do you know about date rape? [5]