Study Guide

Speak Chapter 34

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Chapter 34

Hard Labor

  • Two days after Christmas, Melinda's parents decide she should spend Winter Break at work with them.
  • First, she goes to work with Mom at the store downtown. Mom has Melinda folding shirts in the basement stockroom. The employees down there give Melinda dirty looks. They're sure she's spying for Mom.
  • After folding several shirts, Melinda sits back and starts reading a book. The employees realize she is not a spy.
  • Mom knows Melinda didn't do any work. When Melinda sees how tired and old her mother looks on the ride home, she feels guilty.
  • Next, Melinda goes with Dad to the office where he sells some sort of insurance. Melinda doesn't know the details.
  • He gives Melinda the job of preparing calendars to be mailed out to customers.
  • While she works, Dad sticks his feet up on his desk and gabs on the phone with his friends. Melinda doesn't think it's fair that Dad gets to have a nice easy job, with a secretary who brings him lunch. He should be working a hard job like Mom's.
  • Melinda is super mad at Dad.
  • She cuts her tongue on an envelope. When she tastes the blood, she sees "IT" (34.4).
  • This cools her anger.
  • Now, Dad's mad because she got blood on lots of calendars.
  • Even school is better than this.