Character List and Analysis
Melinda, a high school freshman, is the protagonist in Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. The summer before starting high school, she was raped by a senior student, Andy Evans. Due to her trauma and inability to tell anyone about what happened, Melinda spirals into a dark depression; loses her ability to speak with ease; and can express her pain only through physical acts, such as biting her lips and nails. Melinda's introspection and dedication to her art allow her to grow and eventually see herself as a survivor rather than a victim. She learns that the only way to counter evil is to speak out against it.