Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Melody takes Elvira to school for the first time after winter break. For the first time ever, Melody is the center of attention for something positive, not something embarrassing her body did without her permission. Melody is able to joke with Catherine about fashion, and later in language arts she greets her class verbally.
Elvira allows Melody to feel truly included in her inclusion classes. The ability to speak means she can participate, and it also lets her classmates know that she has thoughts and feelings that she wants to share.
Themes
Language, Communication, and Identity Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
Some of the other students seem like they want to make fun of Melody and Elvira, but Connor, one of the popular kids, says he thinks it’s cool, which makes everyone else leave Melody alone. Everyone except for Claire, who makes fun of the “funny-looking computer.” But Melody doesn’t mind, and she even has a pre-programed funny response. She is able to tell other pre-programed jokes to the class, and for the first time in her life she feels like she’s part of the group.
Even though Melody is the subject of negative attention, she’s able to defend herself in a way that endears her class to her. Melody’s clever comeback is something that a “normal” student would do, and the class’s warm response makes her feel like just another student.
Themes
Language, Communication, and Identity Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
Although the other students in the class are impressed with the machine, Claire raises her hand to say she never considered that Melody had thoughts to share with the class. Miss Gordon explains that Melody had no choice but to stay silent, and that it must be liberating to finally be able to speak. Rose also understands Melody’s struggle. She tells Melody she can’t imagine how hard it must be to have her words trapped inside of her mind, and when Melody asks on her Medi-Talker is Rose wants to be friends, Rose agrees immediately.
Throughout the book Claire and Molly disrespect Melody and act as though she can’t understand them, but here is the only time one of the two explicitly says she didn’t even consider Melody’s internal life. Once again, Melody is judged by her physically disability, even though, had Claire been paying attention, she would have seen Melody’s intelligence. Notably, the only reason Claire now understands that Melody has something to say is that Melody now has a way to say it, thanks to her Medi-Talker.
Themes
Disability and Ability Theme Icon
Language, Communication, and Identity Theme Icon