The Girl Who

The Girl Who

I am
I am the girl who wonders where my future will lead me
I am the girl who paints even though I’m no artist
I am the girl who runs around with messy hair
I am the girl who hides in the back of the classroom
I am the girl who spends her time alone
I am the girl who doesn’t have perfect grades

They think
They think I should be the girl who makes all the right choices
They think I should be the girl who is amazing at everything I do
They think I should be the girl who sits up straight with perfect hair
They think I should be the girl who acts just like everyone else
They think I should be the girl who has lots of friends
They think I should be the girl who is always infallible

I wish
I wish I was the girl who knows what her future holds
I wish I was the girl who is satisfied with her accomplishments
I wish I was the girl who is always happy with her appearance
I wish I was the girl who isn’t afraid to stand out
I wish I was the girl who had somebody to talk to
I wish I was the girl who doesn’t worry about what others think

I wish I was the girl who isn’t afraid to have a voice

This poem, “The Girl Who”, is from Melinda’s point of view. It is meant to represent her struggle with finding herself, and to see who she really wants to be. It is meant to ask the question: Does she want to hide the truth and hold it all in? It shows the conflict between herself and the rest of society. I got the idea of writing a poem like this for Melinda because I wrote one for myself and it showed who I wanted to be as a person. I feel like identity is a huge part of Speak, and the novel shows Melinda’s journey of finding herself. As I was writing this poem, I realized that many of the lines from my original poem could fit into Melinda’s. It made me realize how similar Melinda and I actually are, and this helped me get into her head and understand her. It helped me understand why Melinda acted the way she did. It helped me understand why Melinda didn’t want to tell someone how she actually felt. It helped me understand why Melinda had a hard time opening up to others.


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What a strange and confusing world to live in as a woman.

“When you get women talking, you realize the stories from the news are not just stories, they are not overblown media strategies to get good ratings. This is not women overreacting or playing the victim. We’re just finally garnering the courage to talk about what’s been happening in our lives and in this world all along.” -Allison Fallon


Be quiet

Don’t say a word

Conceal

Don’t let it out

Hide

Don’t let the truth show

Murmur

It wants out

Mumble

You can’t keep it in

Mutter

Make a sound

Whisper

It creeps out

Break the silence

You let it out

Make oneself heard

Let them know

Make public

They should know

Declare

You make it clear

Pronounce

Make them know

Exclaim

Make them hear you

Scream

They listen

Speak

This poem is more of an internal conflict that comes from Melinda keeping the secret inside her head. It is meant to represent a timeline, starting when the secret is just a part of her that she can’t show. The poem then continues to build, showing the secret biting away at her until she can’t hold it in anymore. I think the most important part of this poem is the third stanza. It is meant to represent the breaking point, when Melinda realizes she needs to let it out. I like to think of it as the climax of the poem.


“Breathe life into it. Make it bend–trees are flexible, so they don’t snap. Scar it, give it a twisted branch–perfect trees don’t exist. Nothing is perfect. Flaws are interesting. Be the tree.” – Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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