Melinda observes that her Spanish teacher finally resorts to English to warn the class that they can no longer pretend that they don’t understand the assignments or they will receive detention. Melinda has the solution to the problem: if the teacher had just taught them all the swear words in Spanish the first day, they would have done whatever she wanted.
Because she doesn’t want detention, Melinda does the homework: choose five verbs and conjugate them. She chooses: traducer - to translate; fracasar - to flunk; escondar - to hide; escaper - to escape; and olvidar - to forget.
This is yet another small chapter, but one which is very revealing. Melinda again resorts to sarcasm to show how silly the authority figures around her really are. Her commentary is reflective of her feeling that adults don’t understand kids her age, nor do they seem to care. The verbs she chooses, of course, are reflective of her inner turmoil - she has trouble translating her world into one she can live with; she is failing her classes, be cause she just doesn’t care; she looks for any way to hide from others; she dreams of escaping to a place where she can find peace; and she strives every day to forget what has happened to her.
Of course, we know that until she deals with her pain, she is doomed to never achieve the peace she desires most.
Melinda opens this chapter by stringing together without spaces the phrase, “we are here to get a good foundation so we can go to college, live up to our potential, get a good job, live happily ever after and go to Disney World.” Her sarcasm is her way of introducing Job Day and showing her disdain for those in the school system who think up these events. It begins with a 200 question survey which will help those in charge determine what careers are applicable to her. She finds out she could have a career in forestry, firefighting, communications, or mortuary science. Heather’s aptitude is in nursing which makes her jump up and down. She thinks she could be a candy striper that summer now that she knows she should be a nurse. Melinda is totally awed by Heather’s ability to know what she will be doing in ten years; Melinda doesn’t know what she will be doing in five minutes! She just wants to make it out of ninth grade alive.
Job Day is probably a part of every high school in the United States, so the reader can definitely identify with Melinda’s contempt for the whole process. Looking at the career choices applied to her, we react with amusement, because they are so unlike what she might ever do, and irony that she would be good at communication. She can’t even speak aloud and is very far from telling anyone the horrors in her life.
Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on Speak".
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