Out of My Mind

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  • "I knew all the colors and shapes and animals that children my age were supposed to know, plus lots more. In my head, I could count to one thousand-forwards and backwards. I could identify hundreds of words on sight. But all of that was stuck in my head."
  • The main character of the book is Melody, a girl living with cerebral palsy. She is just as smart as the other girls her age, yet she cannot walk, talk, or do the things everyone else can do. She is constantly seen as stupid because of the fact she is unable to express herself. This moment, where she is thinking about everything she does know, is important because it sets up the basis of her need for help and her need for people to take the time to understand her.
  • "An aide! Wow. This persons job would be to take me to classes, sit with me, and help me participate."
  • Melody got involved in the inclusion program at school and she was allowed to go to a few classes with the normal kids. During this time Melody was assigned an aid, Catherine, to help her to and from classes. Catherine was important in Melody's life because she truly believed in her ability, she gave her the time and soon understood that Melody's need to communicate was her biggest problem, and this scene in the book was a big turning point in Melody's life as she finally had someone who would do anything to help her.
  • Because of Catherines involvement in Melody's life, along with he help of her family and Mrs. V their next door neighbor who helped out with Melody, Melody was able to graduate an alphabet to a med-talker. This was possibly the most important event in Melody's life because it was the first time she was able to say what she felt. From then on she wouldn't be limited to guts and squeezes, she could be normal, she could communicate, a basic part of life, something that everyone should have some way of doing.
  • “When I think about it, I realized that I have never, ever said any words directly to my parents. So I push a couple of buttons, and the machine speaks the word I’ve never been able to say. ‘I love you’”"
  • “Look at it this way… if Melody Brooks can win the first round, then my questions must not be difficult enough!”
  • Even though Melody is not able to communicate easily on the outside, she is actually brilliant. With the help of Ms. V she decides to try out for the schools quiz team, she aces the test easily but is subjected to unfair treatment, and she is accused of cheating. The students, and teacher, wish to believe that someone with a disability could not possibly beat them. This unfairness is an important moment because it shows how our society is used to normal, and we need to get over that fact. This theme runs throughout the book as it becomes more and more evident that people often judge by the looks of people.
  • The quiz team Melody was a part of won and was advanced to go compete in Washington D.C. Melody was extremely excited about going, but her team didn't tell her about a change in the flight time and so she missed the flight. This continues the theme of judging, the team didn't want to be seen with a cerebral palsy kid on national television and so they left her out.
  • "Oh, I remember those kids. They were here early this morning. Great group. So polite and well mannered. They told me all about the competition and the huge trophy they might be bringing home."
  • After Melody got over missing the finals, she decided she wanted to go to school. Melody couldn't take her Medi- Talker though because it was raining. As they were pulling out Penny ran out of the house, unnoticed by her mother, and got ran over by the car. Melody had tried to warn her mum but couldn't because of her inability to express herself, she felt awful for not being able to do anything at all in such a bad situation. This continues the theme of expression, and it continues to show how hard it can be for people who are unable to express themselves.
  • "Her screams were louder than the police sirens that eventually came shrieking around our corner, louder than the fire truck and ambulance sirens that followed them, louder than my silent cries."
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