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The Differences Between The Novel And Film Speak

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There were many differences made in the book like the length of the film. In this novel, the directors of the movie Speak made it shorter because of time issues. The author states “Anderson’s idea for the protagonist in Speak came to her in a bad dream. Her nightmare, which she wrote down upon waking, became the story of Melinda Sordino, who alienates everyone in her high school by calling the police during a drinking party the summer before her freshman year”(Abelove 25). Books are able to describe events with which you can visualize and draw your own conclusions. The authors thoughts and opinions are introduced throughout a book, “We hear them speak, and hear their thoughts as well, in a movie typically a screenwriter will choose a clear protagonist and we will see the world of the film from his point of view” (“When making a movie from a book”). Film and Industry are very popular in our generation rather than having books. Though Jessica Sharzers movie version of Laurie Halse Andersons Speak shows many similarities it focuses on many different scenarios that the book does not show because if so the movie would have been twelve hours.

Melinda was raped in both the movie and the book the author and director did that because if you were to take that out you are missing the big purpose of Speak. Being raped and writing about the situation is a hard thing to do. The characters are focused on more in the book then the movie they are more shaped and better described. The narrators’ point of view is described and it describes the emotions of people but the movie goes along with the cycle of things so it does not confuse the people watching. Melinda going through these situations she loses a lot of her friends, she was very depressed, and it affected her learning at one point and time. She was also affected by having nightmares of seeing herself being raped in his car or in the book outside of the party. She feels like she is an outcast because everyone hates Melinda for calling the cops at the party when she was scared and did not know what to do after that situation had happened to her she was not brave enough to speak up and tell what happened. Anderson shares that at the age of 13 she was raped “She has shared her own experience of being raped at 13, one year younger than the protagonist in Speak and how like her she kept silent about it (Anderson waited 25 years before telling a therapist what happened to her.)”(Krug, “Shocked readers with rape”) If women would speak up about what happens to them they would be called whores or sluts. According to the interview of Laurie Halse Anderson “Even today women do not have equal rights” (“Laurie Halse Anderson”). This sentence explains the importance of women speaking up for themselves if something has happened to them. Many directors try to make books and movies similar because the movie is always really based on the book they want people to experience what they read in a visual manner. Even though there are many similarities in books and movies differences can make a dramatic effect on the way things may be.

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The differences between a movie and a book are important because of different scenarios some could be budget cut and then others could save a lot of time. Speak cut actors from the movie like the main character Laurie Halse Anderson was not in the movie except for being a lunch lady. The Mascot was changed in the movie it changed from a Trojan to a Hornet than to another mascot which was wombats, in the book their mascot is changed from a Trojan to a blue devil. The author probably made them bold changes because they felt like the mascot they ended up choosing worked well with the audience. Sometimes it is about working with what is best for the people that are going to be watching the movie. One educator had said 'The ever-changing mascots are symbolic of the changes Melinda has made in her life'(Miles, “Changing Mascots”), what that is trying to say is that having the author and director change the mascots also can show that Melinda is changing the viewpoint she has on life because of her situation of being raped. Melinda does not want to experience the past in her thoughts or dreams so the directors changing the mascots is a great way to show how she changed her life. These are not the only changes that were made, one of the most crucial parts that stood out the most to me was where the location that Melinda was raped.

The producer chose to make the place where she had gotten raped different because it probably worked better in the scene. The character Melinda was raped outside of the party in the book but in the movie, she was raped during the party in Andy’s (the guy who raped her) car. Different areas where things occur is natural people usually do that occasionally, not only just because of how long the book may be or trying to work with what the people that are going to be watching want but they do it to give the movie a little twist kind of spicing it up so it is not boring. Changes from where Melinda was raped could have been a part of the era, because most of the time in movies you cannot show everything that you have put into the book, the book can be more expressive. They could also try to make people understand that rape could happen anywhere and at any time not just a certain location. People who write or direct a book or movie do different things because most people before they watch a movie have already read the book they try and make things different. According to Ferreria, “Ideally, a film will keep as much of the story, and cut as little as possible. Realistically, a movie is a very different medium, with different demands and characteristics. A screenwriter must necessarily cut, rearrange, conflate characters, cut characters, and even change the date and time along with location”(When making a movie from a book).

Through the context of rape, changes of lifestyle, and changes of scenery there are many differences between a movie and a book but there are also many things that are alike. With that being said Speak shows us many different ways and reasons why stuff happens and the reasons that it happens. Speak is a young-adult novel that explains what can really happen in life at any time and how people can overcome it. The author says “Melinda becomes a silent outcast, a stranger even from herself. In an honest and biting satire of high school culture, Anderson shows the painful healing process that Melinda goes through as she confronts the truth about what happened at the party. She was raped-and to prevent others from experiencing the same victimization, she must speak out” (Abelove 26). By Laurie Halse Anderson writing this book Speak, she is telling young women that it is not right to just keep situations like this in, you have to speak up about it and express the secret that you have carried around on your back for the longest weighing you down. Speaking out is about saying goodbye to your past and hello to a future where you do not have to worry about the mistakes that have happened even though knowing it is not your fault. Melinda finally finds her voice in speak “It happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t my fault. And I am not going to let it kill me. I can grow” (Miles, Changing Mascot). In the future, Laurie Halse Anderson would probably want to see young women learn from her book and her mistakes of how not speaking up made her depressed and had nightmares and brought her down. Remember what Anderson said, “…There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore. I am thawing.”

Works Cited

  1. Abelove-Esther Forbs, Joan. “Cyclopedia of Young Adult Authors.” Laurie Halse Anderson. Vol.1 (2005) 25-26. Print.
  2. Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. Harrisonburg, Virginia, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, 1999.
  3. Ferreria, Jon. “When making a movie from a book.” Quora. Https:// Accessed 10 April 2019.
  4. Krug, Nora. “Laurie Halse Anderson Shocked readers with a book about rape. She’s at it again.” Washington Post. Accessed 10 April 2019.
  5. “Laurie Halse Anderson.” Booklist, vol. 114, no. 9/10, Jan. 2018, p. 93. EBSCOhost, Accessed 9 April 2019.
  6. Miles, Sarah. “In Speak, what do the changing mascots at Merryweather High School reflect?” Enotes. Accessed 10 April 2019.
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The Differences Between The Novel And Film Speak. (2021, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“The Differences Between The Novel And Film Speak.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2021,
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