Study Guide

Speak Chapter 29

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Chapter 29


  • Melinda thinks that their turkey had a really rotten Thanksgiving. She wants to "make a memorial" (29.1) for it. So, she takes the turkey's bones to art class.
  • Mr. Freeman loves it. She can use the bones in class, but has to stick to the tree motif.
  • First, she tries turning the bones into firewood – since firewood comes from trees. Mr. Freeman doesn't like that idea.
  • He's working on a humongous painting of a prison-like building on a rainy day. Members of the school board are in the building, looking out at the dark sidewalk through barred windows.
  • Melinda loves watching Mr. Freeman's canvas change as the days go by.
  • Looking at her turkey bones, Melinda pretends she's an anthropologist who "[has] unearth[ed] the remains of a hideous sacrifice" (29.6).
  • When the bell rings, she asks, with just her eyes, if Mr. Freeman will let her stay. Mr. Freeman understands and says he'll get her out of Spanish class.
  • This causes a chain reaction: Ivy asks to stay too.
  • Melinda arranges the turkey's bones on a piece of wood, as if she's preparing it for display in a museum. Knives and forks are glued on "so it looks like they are attacking the bones" (29.8). She adds a Lego palm tree that has escaped some kind of fire. A Barbie head goes in the middle of the turkey exhibit.
  • Ivy and Mr. Freeman are totally impressed.
  • Mr. Freeman asks Melinda about it. She tries to tell him, but her voice is too dry for words to come out of. Mr. Freeman says he's heard lots of people have sore throats right now.
  • Instead he offers his interpretation: He sees it as the body of a girl who has been destroyed by a bad holiday. While her dead body dries out in the sun, the knives and forks pick off all her skin. (Be sure to look in your book for the rest of Mr. Freeman's fabulous interpretation of Melinda's artwork.)
  • Melinda laughs, feeling a little more confident about the whole art situation.
  • She moves the Barbie head to where the turkey head would be, and takes away the palm tree. It isn't really necessary.
  • Ivy compliments her on the piece. She says it's frightening, but not in a bad way.
  • Melinda is a bit amazed that Ivy is even speaking to her.
  • Mr. Freeman says that her work shows "pain" (29.19).
  • The bell rings and Melinda leaves class, not able to listen to what Mr. Freeman might say next.