I find it odd how powerful it can be to use the infinitive form of a verb. By simply placing a ‘to’ in front of any verb, it automatically has added potentency as if there is another level gravity in the verb’s meaning.
One of our greatest abilities is to speak. If you’re lucky enough to live in place where there is no one oppressing that ability, then I have no doubt you practice it daily, or even hourly. We have something very unique in comparison to everything else on this planet. Our inherent capability to speak to one another, voice our minds, talk, and communicate is truly beautiful. What a wonderful verb–to speak.
When we are young, we desperately try to have others hear us. We find many ways to speak because we’re never satisfied that anyone is actually listening, or worse yet, that anyone wants to hear our voice to begin with.
Author Laurie Halse Anderson has written several YAL novels. One of her most powerful works is simply titled after the verb, Speak. In this novel, the protagonist, a young teenage girl entering high school, is carrying a dark secret. Because of this secret, she has lost her voice–her ability to speak. What she doesn’t understand is how desperately she needs to find her voice and speak the truth that will set her free.
Although a fictional story, Anderson paints a picture that is very real for so many youths. What do you do when no one is listening or you don’t know how to say what needs to be said the most? Anderson has admitted in an interview that it is painful to go back to her youth and write about the experience of adolescence, but since it exists there is no need to avoid the subject if it helps give a voice to someone else. The popularity of her book has lead to a movie production and acclaim for the author. Despite its popularity, I encourage you to read it because of its reminder to us all of that voice we all have and its power.
Anderson’s writing style is honest, but it may not appeal to everyone. I can attest to the fact that I’ve enjoyed some of her other books more, but none are as powerful as Speak.
To speak–it changes everything doesn’t it.