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Under Peer Pressure - What Is Peer Pressure?

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Under Peer Pressure

What is peer pressure? By definition, peer pressure is the ability of people from the same social rank or age to influence another person's decision making process. (Education Bug). The term peer pressure is most commonly used when referring to teenagers doing things they do not want to do, and it is often viewed as a negative influence. By looking at Speak, we can see that it reveals the trials and tribulations that high school students are faced with, which most readers don't see. This is important because it shows readers the impact that peer pressure has on teenagers and the importance of having friends.

In the novel Speak, the protagonist, Melinda Sordino, is extremely peer pressured. This all started when Melinda and her friends went to a party during the summer and she decided to drink. At that party, Andy Evans, a senior, who was drunk as well, raped her inside his car. Everyone at the party was clueless on what was happening because they were too busy mingling. Melinda calls the cops afterwards to report the rape, but leaves before they show up. The party is busted and everyone thinks Melinda got them in trouble on purpose. No one really knew what really happened at the party. Nobody ever asked her a simple question, "Why?" Melinda's melancholy and seclusion demonstrate that peer pressure is a vital role in Speak and that it inspires friends that who can affect the consequences resulting because of it.

Andy Evans, the antagonist of the story, is the one that put Melinda under peer pressured the most. Peer pressure can change who you are, for Melinda it has made her depressed and all around miserable. Even though the raping made her depressed, having no friends because of it, is just as or maybe even worse than the rape itself. When she has came face to face with Andy Evans, she reflects on the night of the party, Bunny Rabbit bolts, leaving fast tracks in the snow. Getaway getaway getaway. Why didn't I run like this when I was a one-piece talking girl? (Anderson 97). The significance of this is she tells us that the raping changed her from a one piece talking girl to a broken silent girl. Melinda did gave into the peer pressure of drinking, that was her fault, because no matter how much she did or did not want to drink, she had the power to say no. "NNNOOO!!!" (194) Melinda yells this when she is in the closet with Andy. This is the climax of the story because this is where the finally speaks up for herself.

Melinda's classmates was also peer pressuring her. She does not choose to be alone; her peers force her to be. For Melinda it is hard to make new friends because nobody wants to take the risk of a bad reputation or being laughed at and getting picked on just like Melinda is. In a moment of frustration, Melinda's friend Heather stated, "You don't like anything. You are the most depressed



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