Out of My Mind


Sharon Draper

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Themes and Colors
Disability and Ability Theme Icon
Language, Communication, and Identity Theme Icon
Acceptance vs. Rejection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Out of My Mind, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Disability and Ability

Melody, the protagonist of Out of My Mind, is a bright, driven, hard-working young woman with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects her muscles and movement. Melody spends her life navigating a world largely inaccessible to her, both because her own body is hard to control, and because people in her life underestimate and bully her. Sharon Draper portrays Melody’s anger and frustration that nobody can acknowledge her abilities, but she…

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Language, Communication, and Identity

Out of My Mind is a book about the power of language, and it explores in depth the ability of language to forge mutual understanding and shape personal identity. Melody, although she cannot speak, has a rich inner life constructed through her own internal monologue. Who she sees herself to be is based on her language ability, but other people—who assume that her inability to speak means that she has no language ability—perceive her…

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Acceptance vs. Rejection

One of the book’s central conflicts revolves around Melody’s desire to fit in and participate socially and academically with the able-bodied students at her school. Although she makes progress in certain friendships and is accepted to some extent by her Whiz Kids team, the book leaves open the question of whether Melody will ever truly “fit in.”

At times, Melody wants nothing more than to feel like a “normal” child who can easily integrate…

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Melody’s family is important because it holds everyone accountable to caring for everyone else. While this brings about a sense of belonging and safety, it can also lead to guilt when characters believe they have caused family members pain, or have been unable to fulfill important obligations. Importantly, Out of My Mind does not define family as only biological relatives—the book also includes those who love and support Melody as part of her family…

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