SPEAK By: Laurie Halse Anderson In 1999, Anderson published Speakwhich won several awards. It was made into a film of the same name in 2004. The novel was a New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Speak was also named a Printz Honor book in 2000.
Censorship Censorship is suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. Due to its controversial subject matter, Speak has often been challenged. In the Platinum Edition of Speak, released 2006, Anderson spoke out against censorship.
Censorship In material printed at the end of the novel, following an interview regarding the content of the book, Anderson wrote: “But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them.”
Predictions By simply looking at the cover of your book, write a short prediction of anything that you may think this novel will be about.
Predictions Now listen as I read the inside cover of the book. Write a few sentences answering this question. Were you right or wrong? How does your prediction change after hearing this exposition?
Characters Melinda Sordino-the main protagonist AND narrator…is a high school outcast due to reasons later mentioned in the novel. Andy Evans-the main antagonist…a popular high school senior Rachel Bruin-Melinda’s former best friend Ivy-Melinda’s former friend Nicole-Melinda’s former friend Heather Billings-a new student from Ohio who befriends Melinda on the first day of school
Characters Continued David Petrakis-Melinda’s highly academic lab partner…he speaks up for his rights Mr. Freeman-Melinda’s overly enthusiastic art teacher…he is the ONLY adult that understands Melinda’s pain and seeks to help her through art. Mr. Neck-Melinda’s racist, angry Social Studies teacher who seems to have it out for Melinda Melinda’s parents-Mom is a manager of a department store, dad is out of work
Other important information Melinda attends Merryweather High School. The setting is Syracuse, NY. “The Marthas”-The Marthas are a group of preppy girls who get good grades, suck up to teachers, and do things to help the community.
Motifs In narrative, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition, a motif can help produce other narrative (or literary) aspects such as theme or mood
Motifs from the book Speak The four Seasons Grading Scales Suffragettes-women’s who fought for women’s right to vote Maya Angelou The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The change of mascot in Melinda’s high school Mirrors TREES
Maya Angelou History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. Maya Angelou If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable. Maya Angelou There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” The free bird leapson the back of the windand floats downstreamtill the current endsand dips his wingsin the orange sun raysand dares to claim the sky.But a bird that stalksdown his narrow cagecan seldom see throughhis bars of ragehis wings are clipped andhis feet are tiedso he opens his throat to sing.The caged bird singswith fearful trillof the things unknownbut longed for stilland is tune is heardon the distant hill for the caged birdsings of freedomThe free bird thinks of another breezean the trade winds soft through the sighing treesand the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawnand he names the sky his own.But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreamshis shadow shouts on a nightmare screamhis wings are clipped and his feet are tiedso he opens his throat to singThe caged bird singswith a fearful trillof things unknownbut longed for stilland his tune is heardon the distant hillfor the caged birdsings of freedom.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a child through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest at all times so that all of the town will know that she is an adulterer; Hester refuses to give away the identity of the child’s father who is no other than the town’s minister. Hester experiences extremely ostracized and is hated by all the townspeople for her actions.
Trees as an important Motif Think about the growth of a tree. Think about the initial planting of the seed through the end of the tree’s life. Think about dangers and problems that can occur over the course of a tree’s life. Think about the positive qualities or occurrences that trees offer. Think about the type of tree growth that represents your life…draw an original tree drawing to illustrate key moments in your life.