Speak Discussion Questions Part 1 “The first marking Period”
What happens in the cafeteria that makes Melinda run out of the lunchroom? • Mashed potatoes are thrown on her
How is Melinda’s attitude in her art class different from her attitude towards her other classes? • She likes and appreciates art class. • She interacts and does her work.
Describe the globe Mr. Freeman uses in her class, and explain how he uses it. • Part of North America is kicked in and he uses it so they can choose their subject for their projects
Describe how the students at Merryweather High School treat Melinda. Give at least three examples from the text to support your answer. • Mean: they knock her books out of her hand. • Mean: they pick on her at the pep rally • Mean: Everyone acts as if she isn’t there
Describe Melinda’s new hiding place at school. • It’s the old janitors closet • It has cobwebs, a broken mirror, a sink, dirty mops, and it’s dusty and dank
What did Melinda do that has caused everyone in school to hate her? • Called the cops at the party over the summer
What is friendship? Describe the important elements of Melinda’s relationships with Heather, Ivy, Nicole, and Rachel. • Heather: only there when she needs something. • Ivy: use to be her best friend and she no longer speaks to her • Nicole: doesn’t speak to her but she is not mean • Rachel: is mean to her and makes fun of her and doesn’t really acknowledge her
Is she really friends with any of them? Can friendship mean something different to different people? • No • Yes because some people are only friends with certain people to attain something • Social Status • Materials
Discuss the social hierarchy of Merryweather High. What role does the concept of identity play in the novel? • Cheerleaders/jocks • Marthas • Everyone else falls under them
Why is belonging to one of the many clans so important to Heather and so unimportant to Melinda? • Heather wants to fit in and be like by people • Melinda knows everyone is fake and doesn’t really care to be in a group.
Discuss the title of the novel and its significance. What role do silence and truth play in the story? Can you give an example? • Melinda is the one who can’t speak. Her secret is eating away at her and she can’t get words out. We see through her silence that most people don’t care to hear what she has to say anyway.
Analyze Melinda’s reaction to the first day of school and why her fears seem more intense than that of others. Analyze why she says, “I’m Outcast.” • She realizes she no longer fits in and those fears are intensified when she gets to school and comes face to face with all her fears. She doesn’t wear the right clothes, doesn’t know where to go, doesn’t have any friends.
Examine the meaning of the “clans” and the prevalence of high school cliques. Why do we sometimes not like people who are really good at things, like sports, music, art, or school? Is this fair? Are adults like this? • People develop or evolve into a clique of some kind because everyone wants to fit in and belong. Therefore, when they are not accepted into a particular clique they cope and act like it doesn’t matter by making fun of them.
Discuss the “First ten lies they tell you in high school.” Compare with your first day. So you think Melinda’s assumptions that they are “lies” is valid?
Examine Melinda’s characterization of the teachers. What do these descriptions reflect? • She describes the teacher by how they act and dress. • It reflects what she thinks of them and whether or not she likes them.
Discuss Mr. Freeman’s approach to teaching art. Have you had similar experiences in classes with this type of teaching style? • He has them choose a subject out of a globe and everything they do in that class has to be with that subject somehow
Discuss Melinda’s home life. How does communication breakdown in Melinda’s family? What could each person do to improve it? If you were a parent, how would communication be in your family? • It’s as if she lives alone. • They don’t communicate other than through notes or yelling and arguing.
Discuss the interaction between Melinda and Heather. Are they friends? What brings them together? • Heather does all the talking. • They aren’t real friends b/c Melinda never confides in her.
Speak Discussion Questions Part 2 “The Second Marking Period”
What book does Melinda read on Halloween instead of going tick-or-treating? • Dracula
Describe Melinda’s lips. • Scabby, Cracked, Dry
The school has decided to change the mascot 4 times. List all three of the previous mascots that have been used and explain why the school felt they had to change each one. • Tigers- endangered species • Blue Devils- evil connotation • Trojans- sexual connotation
What author has the school district banned from the library? • Maya Angelou
Explain why David Petrakis walks out of Mr. Neck’s class. Give enough details in your answer to fully explain why he is upset. • Because Mr. neck had started a debate and when David stood up to give his opinion Mr. Neck didn’t want to hear it and decided to cut off the debate.
Describe what art project Melinda makes with the turkey bones. • A wasting away tree/human • Abstract • Had a palm tree and then a barbies head
Why does David Petrakis video his social studies class? • Because he is getting documentation of Mr. Neck’s misconduct
Why is Melinda so overwhelmed by the Christmas gift her parents gave her? • Because she realizes that they have been paying attention to her and that they really do care.
Who is the “IT” Melinda refers to? • Andy Evans
Why does Melinda isolate herself from her friends? Is she justified in doing so? • Because she has a horrible secret she feels like she can’t talk about and she knows her friends won’t listen to her side anyway.
In what places in Melinda able to find sanctuary at school? • Mr. Freeman’s art class • The janitor’s closet • Her bedroom
Discuss Melinda’s decline, including physical symptoms. • She has bad dreams • Panic Attacks • Grades • Friendships • Less speaking • Lips
Analyze the social studies “debate” and its aftermath. Note who challenges the teacher and the position each person takes. How do you feel about this type of debate? Is the teacher right or wrong? Do students have a right to challenge a teacher?
Who is a “real” American? What do you think of Mr. Neck’s opinion? Going by his definition, are some of you not really Americans?
Discuss the Thanksgiving dinner for Melinda’s family and why this is significant. • Chaotic • First time that we see they are all together and they aren’t really fighting. • The turkey doesn’t turn out because the mother forgot to thaw it out. • Could show that she doesn’t think or care much about the family b/c she doesn’t spend time. • End up ordering pizza
Analyze Melinda’s statement about her parents, “I bet they’d divorce by now if I hadn’t been born.” What does this reflect about her self-esteem? • She has a low-self-esteem • Her parents are only together because of her
Examine Melinda’s references to her secret and what this reveals about her relationship with her parents. What do you think happened at the party? • Her parent’s didn’t even realize that she was home. • Her parents are stuck in their own separate lives.
Discuss Melinda’s athletic ability, her attitude toward being on the basketball team, and the comparison she makes between basketball and life. • Not very athletic but is able to shoot free-throws • Comparison: it’s routine…just like her life
Analyze the deterioration of the relationship between Melinda and Heather. Why is it that people sometimes like us more when they can get something out of us? Are the Marthas good friends to Heather? Why or why not? • They spend less and less time together. Heather is more concerned about impressing the Marthas and uses Melinda to help her with problems she is having.
What should we value in other people? What qualities are important in a person? What do you usually notice first about people? Does that really matter?
Examine Melinda’s reference to IT. Pg 85-86 & 89-90 • Seems to be an upper classman • Rich • Handsome • Dangerous • Gets what he wants • Manipulative • Sleeps with whoever he wants
Discuss the school conference with Melinda’s parents and the aftermath. What do you think about Melinda’s suicide attempt? Was it real? What does it indicate? What do you think about her mother’s reaction? • They call home to talk about her grades on her report card. • Suicide Attempt: a way to try and get someone to notice her and to make her open up about what has happened to her. • Mother’s Reaction: She’s too busy to deal with her child so she passes it off on a book. • Again she shows that she doesn’t have enough time for her family.
Speak Discussion Questions Part 3 “The Third Marking Period”
What animal does Melinda compare herself to whenever she sees Andy? • A rabbit
What reason does Heather give Melinda for no longer sitting with her at lunch? • She’s depressing and weird
Who is the one person that Melinda speaks to? • Mr. Freeman
Melinda takes inspiration from Picasso in her tree drawing. What unique artistic method does she take from him and apply to her tree? • Cubism
What is Melinda’s reward for going to all her classes for an entire week? • Shopping for new clothes
Describe Melinda’s conflict over the party David Petrakis is throwing at his house to celebrate the basketball victory. • She wants to go and have fun but she remembers what happened at the last party she attended and so she decides not to go