Jennifer Miller

EDLA 615

Fall  2005

Extension Project




By Laurie Halse Anderson



I chose to create a book cover for my extension project. The cover includes various themes and objects used within the book “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson.

“Speak” is about a young girl named Melinda who has just entered her new high school. In middle school Melinda was a smart, friendly girl that had friends and was outgoing. However, something has happened to Melinda that has collapsed her spirit and pushed her into a place where she isn’t sure who she is anymore. Melinda was raped over the summer and has lost her friends, spirit and her old life. She is entering high school with a huge burden on her back and no one to talk to. Throughout the book Melinda tells her story of feeling lost and unwanted. It isn’t until she confronts her attacker that her demon is realized and she can rebuild her life.

 I created this collage/book cover in Photoshop so that the images used could be “see through”. I believe this is an important aspect in the book and when evaluating Melinda's character.

I placed a picture of what I think Melinda looks like in my mind all of the way in the back of the collage. I did this because Melinda doesn’t know who she is anymore. Her view of herself is solely based on what she does and who she associates with. Her eyes are blackened out with her hand in her mouth biting her lip and fingernails. She always seemed like a very nervous character that self-destructed her own being so I thought these attributes would be good to visualize her character.

Next I placed Melinda’s closet in the picture. Melinda’s character spent a lot of time in the janitor's closet along with her own closet. She would run home to her room and into the closet to scream or go to janitor's closet to hide. I think the closet is important because it is a metaphor for her personality. She hides away in the closet to escape life along with hiding in her shell of body so that people will not want to get to know her, and she won’t be hurt again.

Another piece of Melinda’s story is the drawings that she has to create in Art class. I believe it was fate that Melinda drew the piece of paper telling her she was going to be drawing trees for the year. After all Melinda is like a tree that has been torn apart over the winter and is coming back to life in the spring. However instead of just adding a tree I added a girl who is turning into the tree and regaining her spirit just like Melinda.

The last thing I added was a friendship bracelet. I think what really pushed Melinda over the edge was loosing her friends when she really needed them. It wasn’t bad enough that she was raped, but everyone turned on her at the same time. Not one of her friends asked why she called the cops, they just hated her for doing it. Plus when Heather came around she gave her a friendship bracelet and then took her friendship away in the end hurting Melinda even more.

I think this project would be rated an expert project because of the concepts used along with the technology used to put it together. My project is well organized and captures the characters personality and life within the story. I believe the collage is visually interesting while projecting some of the major themes within the book. I also like how all of the pictures look as though they are one large image rather then piece of images put together to make one.