Teenage Depression In Speak Essay Example


Exploring the effects of depression, rape and anxiety as a highschool teen and ways to ease the pain and emotions they may have. Author Laurie Halse Anderson expresses several ways that teenagers deal with depression in the novel Speak by self-expression through art, self-mutilation and by talking about their past to peers and family. First, Melinda expresses her feelings about Andy Evans and how he raped her. This releases a great deal of stress on Melinda's shoulders. Secondly, Melinda uses her art assignment to express the way she feels about her depression and her past. Finally Melinda starts to cut herself because she thinks that it would release the pain of depression as stated “ I keep cutting row after row until it doesn’t hurt anymore” (Anderson 113). 

Melinda uses her art assignment throughout the school year to express her growth mentally as the new school year begins. Melina was assigned an art project to work on for the whole school year. Mr.Freeman and her art teacher made students pick out of a globe that his daughters broke. In the globe where objects they must draw for the remainder of the school year. Melinda's object was a tree. Once she picked, she wanted to trade with her classmates. Mr.Freeman then states “You’ve picked your destiny” (Anderson 28) this means that Melinda got this object for a reason. However Mr.Freeman saw that Melinda was struggling with the assignment because she was unable to express herself. Mr.Freeman noticed and said “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time” (Anderson 32) as words of encouragement. 

Later, Melinda was able to piece together her art assignment, but Mr.Freeman saw she was holding so much emotion, later on he said “Art without emotion is like chocolate cake with no sugar. It makes you gag” (Anderson 35). This was able to help Melinda because after this she decided to tell Rachel (her old best friend) about the rape incident with Andy Evans. If Mr.Freeman didn’t say this, Melinda would be in a deeper state of depression because bottling in all the anger, fear, sadness in your body affects you drastically. Since she was able to express herself through art she was able to overcome the depression she once had, and was able to make new friends as well. Before this all started Melinda was in a poor state of mental health.  

In addition, before this art assignment was given Melinda was in a very bad state of depression. When school started Melinda had no friends to talk to, all her previous friends stopped talking to her because she had called the cops to stop the party she and her friends attended. Instead of her friends asking why she called the cops, they instantly hated her after that day had happened. This caused Melinda to start cutting herself. She believed that cutting herself would ease the pain as she later stated “ I open a paperclip and scratch it across the inside of my left wrist. Pitiful. If a suicide is a cry for help, then what is this. A whimper,a peer? 

I draw little window cracks of blood, line after line until it stops hurting” (Anderson 157). Melinda uses self-mutilation as a resort to release her pain. After she’s done this, Melinda falls into a deeper state of depression. She wanted to take her own life, but remembers what her mom told her “Suicide is for cowards. This is an ugly nasty mom side” (Anderson 160). When she remembered this she later resided that self-mutilation isn’t a smart way to go because it would only lead into a deeper depression. However, Melinda still used self-mutilation as an escape route to release all the pain and emotion she had bottled up over the years because she thought it would be a good way to deal with depression. She later realizes expressing herself more often is a better way to help couples with her depression. 

To continue, Melinda starts to express her true feelings to her friends and family about Andy Evans and how he raped her. During the party she previously talked about a senior high school named Andy Evans who had raped her. Melinda attended this party with all of her friends. The reason she called the cops was because she was raped. When she started to realize that all her friends didn’t like her anymore she needed to express her feelings about the situation and tell them what really happened at the party. When she works up the courage to tell her friends what really happen, she explained it by saying the following 

“It happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting it. No running away, or flying or hiding. Andy Evans raoed me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. And I'm not going to let it kill me. I can grow” (Anderson 198). 

This gave Melina a lot of encouragement to start expressing her feelings about Andy Evans to her friends and family. Although, Melina had no intention to tell her family. First, she decided to inform her old friend Rachel. The reason she wanted to tell Rachel first was because Melinda thought she was in danger due to Rachel dating Andy Evans. When Melinda finds the courage to tell Rachel she says “Andy Evans will use you. He is not what he pretends to be.

Trust me, I would know” (Anderson 95). After this Rachel didn’t believe Melinda because she thought she was jealous because she was dating Andy. Later on, Rachel started to believe Melinda because other students have come forward, because Melinda wasn’t the only one that was sexualy assulted by Andy. Rachel broke up with Andy and Melinda was happier and more energetic then she ever was. Later she started to gain more friends, including her old ones. Melinda found the best way to deal with depression was to express her true feelings with her friends and family. Doing so released a great amount of weight off her shoulders.

To conclude, the novel Speak shows several ways that teenagers deal with depression by self-expression through art, self-mutilation and by expressing the way she truly feels to her friends and family.This also shows that self-harm isn’t the best way to deal with depression yet, talking to someone could be the best cure for someone how has depression. 

Work cited

ANDERSON, L. H. (2019). SPEAK. Place of publication not identified: FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX.

 

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