How does Laurie Halse Anderson use symbolism in the book 'Speak'?

Sordino is Melinda's last name and that means mute in italian.

The reason Melinda faints during the frog disection is because it reminds her of being raped. The changing of the mascot names shows how she cannot grasp one specific feeling.

hope this helps:) Melinda's closet (hiding in the janitors closet), is symbolic to her internal, personal, hiding. Her physical appearance, cracked and swollen lips, symbolize her inability to speak, and tell people what happened to her. The drawing of Trees, and inability to "bring them to life", and draw details in the branches, referring to her own life and inability to live and tell details. Also, the "barbie-Turkey" in the chapter "wishbone"; all parts of her artwork are symbolic, the bones, the fork, the knife, the palm tree, the "deserted island" and the barbie head on a dead body. All aspects represent her pain.