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Speak 4th Marking Period Study Guide


Fourth Marking Period


Arborists-plant specialists

Bichon frise-a breed of dog

Indentured- to force into servitude

Indoctrination- an instruction

Leper-a person infected with leprosy (a contagious bacterial disease that results in paralysis, deformation, and ulcers on the skin)

Mononucleosis- an infectious illness

Natter- to chatter

Suffragettes- a supporter of women’s rights

Tenacious- strong, determined

1.        Discuss the title, “Exterminators,” in the first section of the fourth marking period.  Why is this title relevant to the actions that take place in this section?  Who or what do you think the title refers to?

2.       According to Melinda, what are some of the signs of spring?

3.       What does spring symbolize?  What could this mean for Melinda?

4.       What literary allusion does Melinda mention in “Spring Break”?

5.       What is Ivy doing at the mall?  Why?

6.       Melinda states in “Genetics” that they will not learn about sex until the eleventh grade.  What is significant about this fact?

7.        Describe the way in which Melinda views herself and the traits she got from her family.

8.       Elaborate on this description: “Andy Beast swoops over their heads, folds his wings, and sets himself between the girls as they start up the stairs.”  (Pg. 150)  What exactly do you think Melinda is imagining?

9.       What does Maya Angelou represent?  What literary term is used to describe Maya Angelou’s influence on Melinda?

10.   How is Melinda’s tree project like Picasso?  What does she go through?

11.   Explain the multiple levels of meaning found in the title “Growing Pains.”

12.   What advice does Mr. Freeman give to Melinda in “Growing Pains”?  Why should Melinda take his advice on a personal level?

13.   What do the suffragettes represent?

14.   Discuss the irony in the statement Melinda writes on the board:

“The suffragettes fought for the right to speak.  They were attacked, arrested, and thrown in jail for daring to do what they wanted.  Like they were, I am willing to stand up for what I believe.  No one should be forced to give speeches.   I choose to stay silent.”


15.    How is “root” a pun in the section “The Beast Prowls”?

16.   Explain the following metaphor: “Her hand is cool, an island on my forehand.” (Pg. 163)  How could you extend this metaphor?

17.   When Melinda stays home sick from school, she watches daytime talk shows on TV.  While watching, Melinda asks herself: “Was I raped?” (Pg. 164)  Why is this even a question for Melinda?

18.   In the “Real Spring” section, find as many literary terms as possible.

19.   Find the specific event that took place earlier in this book that predicted Melinda’s innate gardening interest.

20.   Why do you think “womynhood” is misspelled? (Pg. 170)

21.   Who does Melinda get paired with to play tennis in gym class?

22.   What does Melinda’s performance on the tennis court signify about her character development?

23.   How is Melinda’s newfound confidence contradicted by the end of “Fault”?

24.   What happens in “Hairwoman No More”?  What could this be foreshadowing?  What major theme does this illustrate?

25.   What could the section, “Little Writing on the Wall” be foreshadowing?

26.   How does Melinda deal with Heather at the end of “Prom Preparation”?  How does this incident show Melinda?  Is she changing?  If so, how?

27.   In “Communication 101,” Melinda attempts to approach Rachel about Andy Evans.  At one point, the girls are writing back and forth in the library, and Melinda writes: “It’s nice to talk to you again.  I’m sorry we couldn’t be friends this year.” (Pg. 182)  Melinda comments on Rachel’s response to the note: “She melts a bit around the edges and writes back.” (Pg. 182)  What does Rachel’s melting have to do with an earlier comment Melinda makes in this section?  What does her melting have to do with her relationship with Melinda?

28.   What happens when Melinda reveals her secret to Rachel?  Why does Rachel react that way?

29.   What turning point in the story makes Melinda feel like she can fly?

30.   Use Melinda’s dad’s speech about saving the tree, and describe how it parallels with Melinda.

“Dad:  He’s not chopping it down.  He’s saving it.  Those branches were long dead from disease.  All plants are like that.  By cutting off damage, you make it possible for the tree to grow back again.  You watch- by the end of the summer, this tree will be the strongest on the block.” (Pg. 187)

31.    Where does Melinda go on her bike ride?  Is it a positive or negative experience?

32.   What literary term describes Melinda’s sudden decision to not hide anymore in the “Prey” section? (Pgs. 191-195)

33.   Who traps Melinda in her closet?  Make a list of what happens to Melinda physically during this scene.  Make another list of the emotions Melinda goes through, with a brief explanation of why you think it is an emotional response.

34.   During her altercation with Andy Evans in the janitor’s closet, Melinda “fingers wave overhead, looking for a branch, a limb, something to hang on to.” (pg. 195)  What does the tree metaphor signify?

35.   In “Final Cut” (Pgs. 196-198), what does Mr. Freeman want to paint over the grade wall?  What does it represent?

36.   What specific characteristics does Melinda’s tree have?

37.   Melinda decides that her tree needs something else.  What is the final touch for her tree project?  Why is this a perfect final touch?

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Last Modified: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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