Out of My Mind


Sharon Draper

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Out of My Mind: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

On the day of the Whiz Kids tryout Melody has to stay late after school to take the test. Rose is surprised to see that Melody has come to take the test, and Mr. Dimming tries to kick Melody out of the room. Melody will not leave, and explains that she’s there to take the test just like everyone else. Mr. Dimming says he’s worried Melody will get hurt, but she says she’s tough and will not budge.
In trying to protect Melody, Mr. Dimming instead accidentally discriminates against her. Even though he’s seen her in class and has seen her test scores, he doesn’t believe that she’s capable of excelling at his very hard test. However, Melody won’t back down because she understands her own intellectual ability and knows that she’s tough enough to take the test and to deal with failure if she doesn’t perform well.
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Melody takes the test with the rest of the students, and because she has studied so much she knows many of the answers. She describes it as “the hardest, most exciting thing I’d ever done.” After the test Mr. Dimming tells Melody he was just trying to protect her, and warns her in advance that she might be disappointed. When her mother comes to pick her up, Mr. Dimming tells them that he’s impressed with Melody’s achievements, although Melody does not believe he means it sincerely.
Melody performs well on the test because she is smart and because she studied. Once again, by trying to protect her feelings, Mr. Dimming accidentally insults Melody, suggesting that he doesn’t think she’s smart enough to take the test, to get on the team, or to deal with rejection.
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