Out of My Mind

by

Sharon Draper

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Out of My Mind: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the competition, Mr. Dimming suggests the team and their parents all go straight from the studio to a celebratory dinner. Rose and one of the alternates, Elena, encourage Melody to come, and Connor admits they couldn’t have won without her, although Molly disagrees. Melody is excited to go to the restaurant, but is worried when she sees that it is accessible only by stone stairs. Melody’s mother talks to a waiter who explains there is normally an accessible elevator but it is temporarily broken. Melody’s mother is angry, but there is nothing she can do, so she carefully pushes Melody and her wheelchair up the stone steps.
Melody is finally treated like a valuable team member by some of her teammates. Although Molly is still unable or unwilling to acknowledge Melody’s ability, Rose, Conner, and Mr. Dimming, at least, are finally comfortable saying that they’re glad she’s on the team, and they want her to continue to participate. The meal is off to a rocky start when the restaurant doesn’t have a wheelchair ramp, and so Melody is left behind by her teammates as her mother pushes her up the steps. This foreshadows future problems with the Whiz Kids not accommodating Melody.
Themes
Disability and Ability Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
In the restaurant, everyone is joking and talking and having a good time. Everyone, except for Claire, who is oddly quiet. When the food arrives everyone starts eating except for Melody, who needs her mother’s help. Melody is nervous, because although she eats out with her family, she has never eaten in front of her Whiz Kids team. But her dinner is getting cold, and so Melody’s mother helps spoon it into her mouth. The other kids at the table all watch, and then the conversation quiets down. Even though she’s still hungry, Melody is uncomfortable and stops eating. Her mother offers to take her home, and they prepare to go as everyone else looks at the dessert menus.
Melody feels like a part of the group for a moment, but eating emphasizes how different she truly is from her classmates, all of whom can feed themselves easily. Watching Melody struggle to eat reminds everyone at the table that although Melody is very smart, she has physical differences, which distract Claire and Molly especially.
Themes
Disability and Ability Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
Claire gets up from the table without eating dessert because she feels sick, and then she vomits on the floor and on Mr. Dimming’s shoes. Some of the other children laugh, and Melody wonders if Claire felt as embarrassed throwing up as Melody did simply eating. She considers how Claire got sympathy, but Melody just received sideways looks.
Melody continues to return to this moment throughout the novel. Although she eats cleanly and tries her best to be “normal,” Claire vomits all over the restaurant, and is still treated as being more “normal” than Melody. It seems that no matter what Melody does, it will be difficult to be accepted by her peers. In contrast, it seems that no matter what Claire does, she’ll remain a member of the Whiz Kids team.
Themes
Disability and Ability Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
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