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Melinda's Closet: Trauma and the Queer Subtext of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak
Abstract

Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak tells the story of teenager Melinda Sorvino's rape, recovery, and eventual coming out as a rape victim. The novel is remarkable in that it reflects the queerness of the strategies Melinda uses to effect her recovery, strategies that, paradoxically, serve both to suppress her voice and to help her recover/discover a voice with which she can speak the truth. Speak is thus a queer novel in that, by presenting a view from the closet, it questions and subverts dominant heterosexist assumptions about gender, identity, and trauma.