p.p1 frequently lack the courage required to stand

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     Countless people struggle with speaking when they should speak and staying quiet when they should not stay quiet, everyone has a voice and a choice to use it.  In the novel, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, characters frequently lack the courage required to stand up for themselves when placed in unfavourable situations. The main characters: Heather, Rachel, and Melinda are all placed in troublesome situations in which they are unable to speak up.
Foremost, Heather lacks the tenacity to speak up for herself in unfortunate situations. However, she has always been the opposite of Melinda in various ways. For instance, Heather cries out, “Why is it so hard to make friends here?… Here people don’t even know I exist. I get squished around in the hall and I don’t belong anywhere and nobody cares…,”(page 34). In other words, Heather is off to a bad start in her freshman year, she states that nobody cares about her existence and that everyone pushes her around. She also cares about her reputation at Merryweather High. She has yet to accept herself as a social outcast. For instance, Melinda answers Heather’s question with, “We are nobody,”(page 34). However, Heather responds with, “How can you say that? Why does everyone have that attitude? I don’t understand any of this. If we want to be in the musical, then they should let us. We could just stand on-stage or something if they don’t like our singing. It’s not fair. I hate high school,”(page 34). Heather has been placed into the new kid status since she came from Ohio, and she is trying to escape the status but fails to do so. Furthermore, Heather does not accept that she is an outcast herself. In addition, others abuse and use Heather. For example, Siobhan, one of the Marthas, says to Heather, “Your can quota. You aren’t carrying your weight. You aren’t contributing,”(page 89). Then one of the other Marthas, Emily, steps into the conversation and says, “It’s not just the can quota. Your posters are ridiculous-my little brother could have done a better job. It’s no wonder no one wants to help us. You’ve turned this project into a joke,”(page 89). Heather ends up ignoring the comments made by the Marthas which included judging the contributions she had made. It’s been made clear that Heather lacks the courage to speak up for herself. Although this is true, she is not the only one who lacks courage to take a stand and speak up. 
Secondly, there is Rachel, or now known as Rachelle. She struggles with having the courage to speak out. Although Rachel is quite different compared to Melinda, they are similar in a sense that they both do not know how to use their voice properly. To emphasize, Rachel yells at Melinda, “Liar!… I can’t believe you. You’re jealous. You’re a twisted little freak and you’re jealous that I’m popular and I’m going to the prom and so you lie to me like this. And you sent me that note, didn’t you? You are so sick,”(page 184). This explains that Rachel was not popular and was an average, normal student. The only reason why Rachel is popular now is because she is dating Andy Evans who is a senior and popular. Since she just started high school just like Melinda, she has been having a tough time fitting in. Dating Andy Evans, is a great way to gain popularity which Rachel uses to her ability. Another example to where it’s proven that Rachel does not know how to use her voice is when Rachel misunderstood Melinda for the reason why she calls the cops, she then goes on to falsely accuse Melinda for the rest of the novel. An example to support this misbehaviour of Rachel is when, Melinda thinks to herself, “She didn’t even bother to find out the truth-what kind of friend is that?…,”(page 21). Rachel just accepted the fact that the only reason Melinda calls the cops is to get everyone busted at the party. From being close to the people who were invited to the party, it becomes a negative influence on Rachel, and as a result her hate for Melinda turns into absolute detest. For example, Rachel mouths to Melinda, “I hate you,”(page 5). This certainly demonstrates that she has been shaped this way by others at the Merryweather High, who too, speak rudely to Melinda. It is truly conflicting to see what has become of two people who were once best friends. For the most part, Rachel is trying to find out where she belongs at Merryweather High.
Finally, Melinda is placed in numerous dreadful events where she is unable to speak. Despite, the fact that Heather and Rachel are partially the reason Melinda is placed into these situations, Melinda faces worse. For instance, when Melinda dreams about the terrible event at the summer party, she dreams, “There was a boulder on me. I open my mouth to breathe, to scream, and his hand covers it. In my head, my voice is as clear as a bell: ‘No I don’t want to!'”(page 135). Fast forwarding to where Melinda dials 911 and is in front of Rachel, “Rachel’s face-so angry-in mine. Someone slapped me,”(page 136). Surely, Melinda could explain it right there in which Rachel would believe at the time. However, she was not able to recover from the traumatizing events to speak out to Rachel. In addition, Melinda gets teased by others. For example, Siobhan utters to Heather about Melinda appearance in which Melinda eavesdrops to hear the conversation “She’s creepy. What’s wrong with her lips? It looks like she’s got a disease or something,”(page 45). Melinda hides in the bathroom until Heather’s bus has left and cries. Clearly, the teasing has got the best of Melinda. She has the choice to stand up for herself in a situation like this. However, she instead stands down and finds herself a place to cry where no one is around. Melinda gets herself alienated at times. For instance, “I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, the wrong attitude. And I don’t have anyone to sit with,”(page 4). This quote clarifies that Melinda feels isolated from everyone and as if nobody notices her existence. Ultimately, the few dreadful situations Melinda is placed in go on to confirm the negative effects she is left to deal with.
In everyday life, people come face to face with real-life problems, however end up lacking or losing the courage to stand up to them. They find themselves having difficulty speaking when they should and remaining quiet when it is better off to. Having to be placed in damaging situations, and being unable to speak up is harrowing. Everyone has a voice and is given the choice to use it. Staying quiet will not resolve the situation. Situations will progressively get worse if not solved presently. Standing up to stressful situations will help overcome the absence of courage. Given these points, speaking up undoubtedly has the potential to increase confidence, which is exactly what is needed when placed in misfortunate situations. If Melinda had the confidence to speak up about her problems, if Rachel had confidence in herself and if Heather had the confidence to take a stand, there would not be any conflict left in the story to keep it going. In conclusion, standing up to real-life problems would resolve in an increase for self confidence.

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