Her parents tell Melinda that she is too old this year to go trick or treating, but she isn’t upset; she’s thrilled. It makes it possible for her not to admit that no one had asked her to go with them. However, she keeps up appearances by stomping to her room in pretend anger. While her mother hands out candy downstairs, Melinda reminisces about Halloween the year before when her clan had all dressed up like witches. They all dressed at Ivy’s house, because she had theatrical makeup, and they ran through the night like they were really witches. They ended up with pounds of candy and finished the night at Ivy’s house where they lit a candle and held it in front of the mirror to see their futures. Melinda didn’t see anything.
This year, Rachelle was invited to a party thrown by one of the exchange student’s host family. Melinda knew she wouldn’t get an invitation, because with her reputation, she’d be lucky to get an invitation to her own funeral. Heather had decided to walk with the little kids in her neighborhood so their mothers could stay home. So, Melinda refuses to spend the night moping in her room and picks up a copy of Dracula with a bag of candy corn beside her.
Not being allowed to go trick or treating is thrilling for Melinda, because she doesn’t want to admit that she wasn’t invited by anyone. However, underneath the relief, she is hurting, because she has been left out. Her memories of the year before and how much fun she had dominates her thoughts until she decides not to mope and sits down with a good book. Perhaps, this small sign of rebellion against her despair is an indication that perhaps she is beginning in this small way to work her way through her problems.
After Halloween, the school board once again changes the name of the mascot. Instead of Devils, they are now the Tigers. However, the Ecology Club begins a protest, because tigers are an endangered species. Mr. Neck uses this protest to chastise the entire class for their lack of school spirit and school identity. He has “a steroid rage.”
In Spanish class, Melinda says she gets “hosed.” Linda means pretty in Spanish and when Mrs. Spanish Teacher calls out Melinda’s name, the class clown cracks, “No, Melinda no es Linda” (No, Melinda isn’t pretty) and they call her Me-no-linda for the rest of the period. She thinks to herself that this is how terrorists get started. Melinda says she has a theory that explains everything: she was abducted by aliens from the party and they have created a fake earth and a fake high school to study her and her reactions. It would certainly explain the cafeteria food, but the other stuff she endures just shows that the aliens have a sick sense of humor.
Once again, we see how Melinda feels when under siege all the time. Even when Mr. Neck screams at the entire class, she feels threatened, and when the Spanish class makes fun of her looks, she sees only a sick sense of humor. They behave like terrorists with no regard for how they are treating her. She is an easy target. She is also the butt of all the jokes now and shows that in her “theory” that she was abducted by aliens. However, we see her sarcasm and biting wit in the way she describes Mr. Neck’s tirade and the theory she comes up with to make herself feel better. It shows how cruel it would be to be the outcast of the school. You would have to find some kind of humor in the situation or go mad.
Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on Speak".
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