Out of My Mind


Sharon Draper

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Out of My Mind: Chapter 33 Summary & Analysis

Melody thinks back on her time in fifth grade so far. Fifth grade is probably hard for many kids, but Melody has to deal with so much more. She has the same questions about growing up as everyone else—is she cool enough, will a boy ever like her—while also navigating a world with a disability that makes everything more challenging.
In some ways, Melody deals with the same questions and concerns as any able-bodied fifth-grader, but she also realizes that because of her disability she will never be exactly like everyone else, and her day-to-day struggles will necessarily be more complex. As much as she wanted to fit in and be accepted by her classmates, Melody comes to understand that she can’t necessarily expect other 10 and 11 year olds to fully understand her personal experience.
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Penny comes home from the hospital with some bruises and a cast, but no lasting damage. Melody begins work on her biography project for Miss Gordon’s class, part of which involves writing an autobiography. Melody’s biography begins in the exact same way Out of My Mind begins, with an ode to language and words.
The fact that the last chapter of the book focuses on Melody’s writing and Penny’s return from the hospital suggests that in the end, what’s most important is Melody, her internal life, and her relationship to her family. Although the Whiz Kids experience was devastating, in the end it was less important than Melody’s private intellectual development, and the health and safety of her immediate family. The book begins and ends with the exact same passage, in which Melody talks about the beauty of words. This last chapter ends with an ellipsis (…), suggesting that it will continue on, and that the whole book has been Melody’s biography for Miss Gordon’s class. This underscores the power of language, and how through the written word Melody can communicate a lifetime of memories and experiences.
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