Study Guide

Speak Chapter 38

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Chapter 38

Dead Frogs

  • In biology class, it's time to dissect frogs.
  • David Petrakis, Melinda's lab partner, is totally excited and serious about the whole process. Even the kids in the back row are happy about this project.
  • Melinda and David's frog is on its back on the lab table. Holding the knife, Melinda watches David pin the frog's arms and legs down. Melinda's having trouble breathing.
  • It's Melinda's job to cut the frog's stomach open. The frog can't complain because she's "already dead" (38.4).
  • Melinda feels a scream deep inside herself – she "can feel the cut, smell the dirt, leaves in [her] hair" (38.4).
  • (Melinda seems to be giving us clues about whatever it is that happened to her at the party last summer.)
  • Melinda doesn't remember losing consciousness. David Petrakis tells her that she even banged her head on the lab table before she hit the floor.
  • Stitches are necessary, so the nurse calls Mom. As the doctor shines a light in Melinda's eyes, Melinda wonders if the doctor can read her mind. If she can, will she call the police, or put Melinda in a psychiatric hospital?
  • Melinda wonders if that would be such a bad thing.
  • Sleep is the only thing Melinda desires.
  • She thought if she didn't talk about what happened to her, she would forget about it. But her plan isn't working. The memory is burned in her brain.
  • She considers waiting for David Petrakis to become a brain surgeon and getting him to cut the memory out for her.