Study Guide

Speak Chapter 24

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Chapter 24

Closet Space

  • Melinda's parents tell her she must get tutoring from her teachers every day after school.
  • She does stay late at school, but she spends her time in the abandoned janitor's closet she found.
  • She's been redecorating it. She tapes a poster of Maya Angelou up over the mirror. The librarian gave Melinda the poster. She had to take it down from the library because the school board is banning one of Maya Angelou's books. According to the librarian, "Ms. Angelou is one of the greatest American writers" (24.2).
  • (Shmoop totally agrees.)
  • If they are banning her books, Maya Angelou must be very good, Melinda decides.
  • Melinda thinks Maya Angelou wants her to read books in the closet, so she brings some books.
  • Lately, Melinda is having more and more trouble talking.
  • She's also clenching her teeth in her sleep.
  • When she's with Heather, alone, her "mouth relaxes" (24.3) a little, but she can't talk at all around teachers.
  • She wonders what her problem is. Yeah, she's aware that she's got some mental problems right now. If only she could go to a different school, a different world.
  • She really, really wants to tell her secret, "to hand over the guilt and mistake and anger to somebody else" (24.4). But, that won't get rid of the horrible memory.
  • Better she stays in the closet and keeps the awful thing to herself.