Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson Summary and Analysis Second Marking Period, Foul"-"Poster Child""

Summary

Now that winter has settled over Syracuse, gym class is held inside. The first day of indoor gym focuses on basketball. When Melinda approaches the foul line, she is able to make over forty shots in a row, earning the respect of her gym teacher, Ms. Connors. Ms. Connors immediately wants to recruit her for the basketball team and is horribly disappointed that Melinda's grade point average is far below the minimum requirement. The boys' basketball team takes the floor and after Brendan Keller, the boy Melinda nicknames Basketball Pole takes a few bad shots, Ms. Connors has Melinda show the boys how to shoot. She tells Melinda that if she works with Brendan after school, she can earn an A in gym class. Melinda remains silent, unable to say no, but determined to not show up to shooting practice.

Melinda continues to love art class. Mr. Freeman has become a popular teacher due to his laissez-faire approach to teaching and his willingness to embrace his students' creativity. Melinda is still working on creating her tree, though she is unable to translate the image she has in her head into a work of art.

Heather asks Melinda to come over after school one day and whines about how the Marthas aren't being nice to her. They want her to make all the posters for a canned food drive and Heather convinces Melinda to make the posters because she is better at art. Melinda agrees, because once again, she is unable to say no.

Analysis

In these three sections, Melinda is recognized for her talents and sees another role model in Mr. Freeman. To begin, Melinda receives recognition for her outstanding foul shot and her artistic ability in these sections. These moments show that while Melinda doubts everything about herself, others see the potential in her. While Melinda refuses to help out the boys basketball team, she does agree to draw posters with Heather, albeit reluctantly. By accepting Heather's offer to make her artwork public, Melinda begins moving away from trying to remain invisible and silent to beginning to find a way to express herself.

Secondly, much like David Petrakis, Mr. Freeman represents the type of person Melinda would like to be. She admires him for his teaching style (he kicks lazy kids out of class, but allows students to eat and drink as long as they are productive) and for his own painting-in-progress that ridicules the school board. Through Mr. Freeman, Melinda sees art as a way to speak out about issues and finds this idea invigorating, going so far as to suggest that she would like to be an artist someday.

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At the end of the novel, what is the final touch that Melinda adds to the picture of her tree?




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