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Speak

Speak

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Overcoming the Monster

Anticipation

We gradually learn that Melinda is afraid of Andy, though we aren't sure why.

In this stage, we first get hints that some evil monster is lurking. In this case, the monster is Andy Evans. In this stage, the hero experiences a "'call' to confront" the monster. Melinda's "call" is Melinda's overwhelming desire to tell somebody she was raped. She doesn't, at first, recognize Andy is a danger to others and doesn't think of trying to save people from him.

Dream Stage

Andy doesn't come around Melinda much.

In this stage, the hero prepares for battle, but doesn't quite understand what a threat the monster is. So long as Andy keeps his distance from Melinda and her friends, she can try to forget him. All the thinking she's doing prepares her to fight him off at a later date even though she doesn't know it.

Frustration Stage

Andy is everywhere.

All the sudden, Andy is everywhere. He seems to be stalking Melinda, and her ex-best friend Rachel could be his next victim. It seems like Andy might be winning. Melinda is overwhelmed and terrified of him and doesn't have a clue how to fight him.

Nightmare Stage

Andy's second attack.

Near the end of the story, Melinda finds herself trapped in her private hiding place with a very angry and strong Andy. It looks like all is almost lost. Will Speak end in tragedy?

The Thrilling Escape and Death of the Monster

Melinda almost stabs Andy in the neck, but restrains herself.

But wait, Melinda's getting the upper hand. She holds a broken piece of a mirror to Andy's neck. She's not about to let him hurt her again – not without a fight. She wants to kill him, but she resists the temptation. So the monster isn't really dead, but he is caught and exposed.

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