In the novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson addresses the cause and effects of bullying. She believes bullying can lead to severe depression and cause social problems.
What makes someone become a bully?
Nobody is born a bully. It is the situations that make them do the wrong things. There are reasons behind a person becomes a bully. Generally, those who bully others are looking for superiority over others and search for flaws they can use against them.
Those who bully may want revenge from the
victim, or they just want to feel popular and seen as tough or cool. Some people may also learn to bully from others. In the novel, Melinda, the main character, is constantly bullied and ignored my her classmates and ex-friends. Melinda states, "The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me. It's Rachel...'I hate you,' she mouths silently" (Anderson 4).
Always remember that bullying is not acceptable!
What is the Main
Issue in the book?
Melinda is only fourteen-years-old, and she's dealing with one of the worst things that can happen to a person: rape. High school senior Andy Evans rapes Melinda at the end-of-summer party just before Melinda starts 9th grade. She calls the cops to report the rape, but leaves before they show up. The party is busted and everybody thinks Melinda got them in trouble on purpose. The story begins at Melinda's first day of freshman year. Swift sings,"Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things."All her ex-friends ignore her and are constantly bringing up the Incident. She can't find the words to explain what really happened at the party. "I look around, nowhere to sit. All my friends stare at me then look away. I am an outcast," (Anderson 4).
What are the effects of bullying?
Diminished academic performance can also be a result of bullying: "Many of these effects can last well into adulthood. Victimization is also significantly related to social isolation, anxiety and depression, and low self-esteem" (Gale). With her only friend ditching her, Melinda becomes withdrawn and isolated. In freshman year, Melinda receives failing grades and wants to give up school.
Mel expresses, "I retreat into my head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief. There's something banging around in there that I don't want to think about. I try to avoid it, but it won't go away until there is a painful confrontation" (Anderson 145). She wants to make the rumors go away but doesn't know how. "With that same big loud opinion but nobody's listening," sings Swift. Gale believes bullying can lead to hardships with fitting in: "The victims are more likely to be physically underdeveloped and socially isolated and to have difficulty making friends."
The graph above shows that people who were/are bullied have much higher rates of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, etc.
What was Melinda's response?
Melinda became extremely anti-social and did not know who to turn to. Taylor swift sings, "Trying to block you out cause I'll never impress you. You, have pointed out my flaws again As if I don't already see them." Mel wanted her classmates to change their opinion about her but they wouldn't stop being mean. She kept her distant and avoided school.