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Mirror as a symbol in Speak
Transcript of Mirror as a symbol in Speak
In the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the use of the symbol mirrors displays Melinda's frustrations towards herself, such as appearance.
Melinda avoids mirrors after the rape, unable to face her own reflection. This represents her inability to face her feelings. She narrates that she can't "see herself," which shows that her sense of identity has been altered by the rape. The only mirror where she feels that she can see herself is a three-way mirror in a store's dressing room. The fractured reflection represents Melinda's fractured sense of self.
"I watch myself in the mirror across the room, Ugh. My hair is completely hidden under the comforter. (.) Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed up horror of my mouth. (.) I get out of beg and take the mirror down. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall." This was said by Melinda on pages 16-17.
"The first thing to go is the mirror. It is screwed to the wall, so I cover it with a poster of Maya Angelou that the librarian gave me. She said Ms Angelou is one of the greatest American writers. (.)"
This also shows Melinda's struggle with mirrors. She can't take the mirror down, but she still finds a way to hide her appearance from herself. She rather see someone else, just like she would rather be someone else. She put a poster of Maya because she is a strong woman, who was also raped at the age of seven. This poster was to show herself someone who is still strong and has overcome her battles. She wants to be like Maya, not like herself.
When Melinda uses a mirror to defend herself against the person that caused all of her pain, Andy Evans, by putting it to his throat when he tries to rape her again in the closet at the end of the book, Melinda's self loathing can finally rely on the correct person and not on herself.
The shattering of the mirror, and the use of one of its broken shards to threaten Andy Evans symbolizes Melinda's overcoming of her situation.
This shows that Melinda absolutely hates the way she looks.
She is frustrated with herself, so she gets up and takes down the mirror and puts it somewhere where she knows, she will never see herself.
As a symbol in the novel Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Anderson, L. H. (2004) Speak.