Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind Literary Elements


Realistic fiction; young-adult literature.

Setting and Context

The major settings are Melody’s family home, her neighbor Mrs. V’s house, and Spaulding Street Elementary School. Melody lives in an unnamed town in southwest Ohio.

Narrator and Point of View

The book is narrated in first-person subjective point of view by eleven-year-old Melody Brooks.

Tone and Mood

Sticking close to Melody’s emotional state, the novel’s tone is often playful and humorous, though numerous disappointments and injustices turn the mood bleak and frustrating. Ultimately, the mood is one of resilience.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is the narrator, Melody Brooks. Antagonists include: fellow students Claire and Molly, who often mock Melody; Mr. Dimming, the history teacher and quiz team leader who doubts Melody’s intelligence and ability to participate; and most broadly, Melody’s cerebral palsy, which paralyzes most of her body and limits her ability to fully participate in social life.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is Melody’s struggle to be recognized as a normal person despite her developmental difficulties.


The story reaches its first climax when Melody’s flight to the Whiz Kid finals is cancelled; a second climax occurs shortly after, when Melody’s sister Penny is run over in the driveway.


In early chapters, Penny repeatedly tries to run away from her parents, though they manage to catch her before any harm comes. The family jokingly refers to Penny as an “escape artist,” foreshadowing the climactic scene when Penny escapes the house and is run over by Melody’s mother’s SUV.



In Chapter 2, Melody says that she has no ability to keep her body balanced, saying that Humpty Dumpty, a nursery rhyme character, has more control than she does. In the popular rhyme, Humpty Dumpty falls from where he sits atop a wall; all the King’s horses and all the King’s men cannot put him together again. Humpty Dumpty is usually portrayed as an anthropomorphic egg.




Metonymy and Synecdoche


At the beginning of Chapter 30, Melody awakes to a “constant, soaking downpour that laughed at umbrellas and raincoats” (266). Melody personifies the weather by attributing to the rain the human ability to laugh.