In Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda wishes that her teacher Ms. Keen would teach her something more “Practical… information about why hormones can make you crazy, or why your face only breaks out at the worst time, or how to tell if somebody really gave you a valentine.”(pg. 109) Instead of learning about the “birds and the bees” Melinda wants to learn about love and betrayal.
Even though the idea of having a crash course on life in school would be a great idea, humans are required to learn it else where. Instead of a class, one must learn from experience- and instead of in a normal class, failing at first is expected and encouraged. To understand love and betrayal one must have a first hand experience to truly understand it. Between failed romances and fights with friends, people learn how to trust and how to treat others.
Even though we all have different ways of learning, one cannot truly learn what love is from a book. Although a story can give a great example of love, the reader can never fully understand the feelings of the characters involved. They cannot understand the feeling the character gets when they see their beloved, or how the different emotions affect them when they are around. Because the reader cannot physically be in the characters mind, they will ever understand the whole emotion. Not every little thought can be explained in a book, so one can never understand exactly what is going through the characters mind. Nobody will truly understand these feelings until they themselves experience the emotions that come with love.
The “Martha’s” have both good and bad qualities. They truly mean to do good for others, but they usually go too far and end up alienating others.
The main idea of the group “The Marthas” is a great idea; help others and do good things for society. They even were named after a saint. The group is basically a community service group who happens to like to make things pretty while they do it. They want things to be done perfectly: if something is amiss, it must be fixed. They also believe in everyone being the same: whether its how they act, do things, and even dress. Melinda explains how everyone matches each other, and that the whole group matches the season; “Outfits must be coordinated, crisp, and seasonally appropriate. They favor plaid for autumn… Winter calls for Fair Isle sweaters, wool pants, and Christmas hair ornaments.” As Melinda put it, they are an “ironic flashback of the 1950’s.” Conformity rules in this group.
Even though the original intentions were for good, the group quickly turned sour. If someone did not dress the same way they did, they are in trouble. If they don’t make every craft just right, expect a lecture. Even when they are doing things for the needy, like when they were collecting canned food items, the donated items must be the right brand and type of food. “Beets are Not Good Enough. Real Marthas only collect food that they like to eat, like cranberry sauce, dolphin safe tuna, or baby peas.” Because Heather donated the beets, the group gave her the cold shoulder and she was back at the bottom of the pile again.
The clique may have started off with good intentions, but now, it slightly resembles a communist government. You must conform to societies (or in this case, the groups) rules. Every one must look the same, act the same, and have the same interests. The group’s leaders would represent the head of the government: the seniors rule and the rest of the clique (citizens) must follow their rules or face the consequences.