by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak Chapter 18 Summary
Student Divided By Confusion Equals Algebra
- Melinda comes to math class very, very late. Mr. Stetman is suspicious of her late pass.
- She can't focus on algebra. She does fine with fractions, decimals, geometry, things she can see a use for. But, algebra leaves her cold.
- Mr. Stetman is totally obsessed with algebra. It's his passion. He has gazillions of stories about the uses of algebra, but nobody can understand any of them.
- The class is asked to "explain the wangdiddler's role in the negative hotchka theorem" (18.6).
- Heather volunteers and is incorrect. Mr. Stetman asks Melinda to explain.
- When she shakes her head "no," Mr. Stetman asks somebody to help her.
- Rachel volunteers, and Melinda panics. She and Rachel are at the front of the class.
- While Rachel does the problem, Melinda bites her bottom lip. She thinks, "If I try hard enough, maybe I can gobble myself whole this way" (18.9).
- Suddenly, everybody is laughing at her, and she realizes it's time to go back to her seat.
- Algebra, Melinda decides, is definitely not her cup of tea.