The Monday after Thanksgiving break Rose brings a new laptop to school. Melody imagines what a laptop made for her could look like. It would have big keys and would connect to her wheelchair. She signals to Catherine that she wants a computer like Rose has, and Catherine understands that Melody doesn’t want a laptop, but a special computer, just for her, for communicating.
The prospect of a personal computer is exciting for Melody. One of her primary struggles in life is communicating all the thoughts inside her head, and a computer would allow her a new degree of self-expression.
Later, in language arts class, Melody thinks about the biography project. She decides to investigate Stephen Hawking. She wants to know how he does day-to-day activities, how he goes to the bathroom, how he parents his children. She’s especially interested in seeing how he talks and does math. Catherine promises to investigate a computer for Melody.
Stephen Hawking is exciting to Melody because, like her, he is unable to control much of his body, but is still widely recognized to be a genius. It makes sense that Melody would be interested in another smart person who uses a wheelchair, particularly someone who is famous for his intelligence.