The Role Of Social Anxiety In Anderson's Speak

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Anxiety effects one in eight children and research proves that children with social anxiety are more likely to perform poorly in school and miss out on social events. The protagonist of Laurie Hale Anderson’s experiences social anxiety and trees are used to express the growth of her as a person mentally and also a new life and start. Melinda goes through three stages in the book: realization, struggle and acceptance. With all of these stages, the tree grows with Melinda. First of all, Melinda comes to the realization that she does not want to speak with anybody and does want any interaction with past friends and people she went to school last year especially. It is in this part of the book when trees first start to get mentioned and Melinda is assigned her art project for the year in which she has to…show more content…
She is depressed as ever and her anxiety is getting worse. She skips school and feels as though she has no purpose. The trees reflect this as they are short, snappy, and have no emotion or feeling poured into them at all. Melinda struggles to create trees that are realistic and often complains about the fact that she can’t bring her trees to life. This is a metaphor for her personal issues and struggle with depression and anxiety. Melinda quotes “I wish Mr. Freeman would put a tree i his masterpiece. I can’t figure out how to make mine look real... I can see it in my head: a strong old oak tree with a wide scarred trunk and thousands of leaves reaching to the sun... when I try to carve it, it looks like a dead tree, toothpicks... I’d love to give it up. Quit” (page 78). This quote proves that in the second third of the book she starts to loose faith in herself and her doings. In this part of the book the reader is introduced to Andy Evans, a boy who raped Melinda during the summer coming into year nine. He makes her feel inferior and this is also expressed in the trees Melinda

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