English I Honors
31 January 2013
Melinda's Experience with SAD
Most people know about depression, a serious medical illness where humans feel intense sadness and lose interest in the things they enjoy, but do they know about a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder? In Seasonal Affective Disorder, the symptoms of depression occur in the late fall or early winter and then dissipate during the spring and summer. Also, the disease is diagnosed more in females than males. In Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, the main character Melinda Sordino experiences SAD. The readers can observe and relate Melinda's behavior in fall, winter, and spring to the symptoms and complications of SAD.
In the fall, Melinda's depression forms and then progresses as she experiences many symptoms of SAD such as oversleeping, losing interest in activities that she had once enjoyed, and hopelessness.
She exhibits her cravings to sleep when she says "I just want to sleep" and "I want a nap" (Anderson 81, 83). Melinda also experiences a loss of interest in creating art and feels hopeless when she says, "It looks like a dead tree. . .I'd love to give it up. Quit" (Anderson 78). Melinda's words show how she wants to simply give up because she feels down and incapable of making an inspiring tree for her art assignment. Anderson shows how Melinda's behavior in fall relates to the symptoms of SAD.
As fall progresses into winter, Melinda's complications from having SAD arise. She experiences social withdrawal and has problems in school. Melinda has a meeting with her parents, the principal, and her guidance counselor because of her increasing absences in school and her declining grades, "Principal Principal: 'We all agree we are here to help. Let's start with...