The main character of Speak doesn't speak. Watch this video to find out why.
|American Literature||20th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Anderson - Laurie Halse Anderson|
|Early 20th-Century Literature||Early 20th-Century American Literature|
Melinda Sordino is a fourteen-year-old entering high school with a terrible secret.
She doesn’t want to face what happened to her and believes that, if she doesn’t ever
talk about it, it will somehow disappear. But no matter how hard she tries . . .
. . . it doesn’t. In the end, she realizes that she has to break
her silence if she wants to have any hope of reclaiming her life.
Which brings us back to our question - why does silence hold such power in our social
lives? Remember when you were little and you threatened
to hold your breath until you turned blue? It got your mom’s attention, didn’t it?
Silence does the same thing; it gets our attention. It can make us feel awkward, like those folks
in the elevator . . . . . . or it can confuse us when we don’t
know how to respond. And nobody likes feeling incompetent.
Think about conversations you’ve had that stopped right in the middle for no good reason
at all. Didn’t you want to jump right in and fill that dead air as soon as possible?
We’re all so used to noise and stimuli in our lives, that we don’t know what to do
when it’s not there. And while some people can handle silence.
. . . . . many of us can’t.
Maybe that’s why solitary confinement and the “silent treatment” achieve some pretty
dramatic results. It’s not all that easy being alone with
our thoughts. So, if silence confuses us, makes us uncomfortable
and feels awkward, why do we need it at all? Well, there’s no doubt that a little quiet
time helps you figure stuff out. . . . . . and put things into perspective.
There are plenty of times when you just need a break from all the nonsense that’s bombarding
us 24/7 . . . . . . but, like Melinda, we all have to figure
out when we have to stand up and speak out . . .
. . . and when we need to sit down and just be quiet.
So why do you think silence holds such power in our lives?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.