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Analyzing the Characters of Speak

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Thuong Nguyen

on 20 December 2013

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Transcript of Analyzing the Characters of Speak

Called flat because like a paper doll, it is two dimensional and not diverse
A flat character has only one or two key personal traits
They are not complicated and have little change through out the book
Flat characters are needed to get the story told
They usually play a supporting role to the main character

In Harry Potter Dolores Umbridge is seen as a flat character.
In Hunger Games Katniss's mother is viewed as a flat character.
In the story, we do not know much about the Katniss's mother. All we know is that her husband has been killed in an accident and that she's Primrose and Katniss's mother.
In Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio is a flat character.
He is the same throughout the storyline, very loyal and a peacemaker. His character does not have any growth throughout the story.
AKA ~ Explicit Characterization
Definition: Author literally tells what the character is like
This may be done by another character or by the character him/herself
Ex: Chad is a liar and a cheat.
Aka ~ Implicit Characterization
Definition: The character is revealed through the character's:
Appearance
Thoughts
Actions
Speech
Interaction with other characters and other characters' reaction
a character in fiction whose personality, background, motives, and other features are fully described by the author.
In the book Speak, there is one particular round character, Melinda Sordino.
Thuong Nguyen, Nick Roy,
Jo-Lyn Xiong
Annie Tran

Flat Characters
Definition
In speak, due to the perspective we are given, many characters are viewed as flat and not in depth. However the main flat character is Andy Evans, Melinda's Rapist.
From the beginning of the book to the end he is always arrogant and scary
He has not changed in his ways and even attempted to rape Melinda the second time
The story is told from Melinda's perspective to understand the victim's experience not the attackers motives
Example in Speak
Methods of Characterization
Direct Characterization
Indirect Characterization
Indirect Characterization in Speak
Round Characters
Definition
Examples in Speak
Melinda as a Round Character
Analyzing the Characters
of Speak

Flat Characters Outside of Speak
are complex and experience development, sometimes surprises the reader.
often changes throughout the story.
Beginning: outcast, isolated.
Didn't do anything when Andy teased/harassed her.
Most of the time: chose not to speak.
Action
Private Thoughts
Appearance
Dialogue
Other's Reaction
Throughout the story, she befriends a few people and learned to speak in the end.
"I watch myself in the mirror across the room. Ugh. My hair is completely hidden under the comforter. I look for the shapes in my face...Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed-up horror of a mouth....I can't stop biting my lips. It looks like my mouth belongs to someone else, someone I don't even know. I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall." pg 17,18

This shows Melinda's insecurities; how she felt, and how much she hated herself.
Example in Speak
David Petrakis
Pg 37 ~ "...Belongs to the Cybergenius clan. He has the potential to be cute when the braces come off. He is so brilliant he makes the teachers nervous. You'd think a kid like that would get beat up a lot, but the bad guys leave him alone."
"...What are your goals, Mel?"
I used to be like Heather. Have I changed that much in two
months? She is happy, driven, aerobically fit. She has a nice mom and an awesome television. But she's like a dog that keeps jumping into your lap. She always walks with me down the halls chattering a million miles a minute.
My goal is to go home and take a nap. " pg 24
By seeing Melinda's private thoughts, we can have an insight on how she felt inside. In this part of the story, Melinda is thinking back to how she was just like Heather before the incident. It tells us how much Andy and the party affected her and how much she changed because of it.
"My face is dirty. I lean into the mirror. Eyes after eyes after eyes stare back at me. Am I in there somewhere? A thousand eyes blink. No makeup. Dark circles. I pull the side flaps of the mirror in closer, folding myself into the looking glass and blocking out the rest of the store. My face becomes a Picasso sketch, my body slicing into dissecting cubes... I push my ragged mouth against the mirror. A thousand bleeding, crusted lips push back." pg 124,125
This basically show how Melinda feels inside. Empty. She puts in no effort to fix herself up. It shows how much she really doesnt care anymore. "dark circles" this could signify that Melinda hasn't been sleeping. "my face becomes a picasso sketch" Melinda doesn't even recognizes the girl whos staring back at her in the mirror anymore. "a thousand bleeding, crusted lips..." this shows that Melinda hasn't been talking.
"She's creepy" pg 45
"Heather: You don't like anything. You are the most depressed person I've ever met, and excuse me for saying this, but you are no fun to be around and I think you need professional help. pg 105

Melinda is being bullied at school and has clearly affected her throughout the story. "I stumble from thornbush to thornbush—my mother and father who hate each other, Rachel who hates me, a school that gags on me like I'm a hairball. And Heather. pg 124" Melinda has no support from other people, she feels truly alone in her world causing her to develop into dark, depressing character as the story progresses.
Practice
Flat or Round?
"Bert, a bumbling salesman, never takes time to organize his files, properly record his sales, or follow up with customers. Finally, his boss gets fed up and fires him. Bert struggles for two months to find a new sales position. During that time, his car is repossessed for nonpayment and he maxes out his credit cards. Bert finally finds a new sales position but, before a week passes, he is called into a conference with his new boss. Bert is informed he must get organized or he'll be fired. A week later the new boss fires Bert after he fails to follow up with an important customer."



1) Kylie’s name was called, and she slowly walked up to the stage, staring straight at the ground.

2) Linda was a strong woman who lived her entire life on her own terms, without compromising and without ever being apologetic for anything.

3) Jane was a beautiful young girl. She had golden hair and blue eyes, which made her stand out from the rest.

4) Lennie looked startled and then in embarrassment hid his face against his knees. “I forgot again.”


Direct or Indirect?
"Me: "Let me tell you about it."" pg 298
At the very last page of the story, Melinda says these words. It tells the audience how much she has really grown throughout the story. She can finally get over the fact that she got raped by Andy and can speak up for herself.
Melinda went from being extremely depressing and insecure into this strong girl whose able to speak up for herself at the end.
One part of Melinda really wants to tell everyone what happened at the party, but the other half of Melinda is still hiding the fact that the incident happened.
Melinda is conflicted and confused over whether or not she likes the attention David is giving her throughout the story.
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