In Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, we can find important quotes by zeroing in on Melody's most important or most thematically relevant statements and revelations. Let's explore them in order.
In Chapter 1, here's a quote in which Melody beautifully explains her relationship to language, along with her longing to experience it, because she herself cannot speak:
Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes—each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.
She goes on to reveal, with stark matter-of-factness, her lack of ability to speak:
I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.
In Chapter 2, here's Melody touching on an important theme in her story, the need to acknowledge people's humanity and individuality even if they are disabled:
Sometimes people never even ask my name, like it’s not important or something. It is. My name is Melody.
From Chapter 3, here's an important quote that shows what kind of man Melody's father is, and what kind of relationship they have:
“Your life is not going to be easy, little Melody,” he’d say quietly. “If I could switch places with you, I’d do it in a heartbeat. You know that, don’t you?”
I just blinked, but I got what he meant. Sometimes his face would be wet with tears.
Soon afterwards, Melody reveals the extent of her intelligence:
Here’s the thing: I’m ridiculously smart, and I’m pretty sure I have a photographic memory. It’s like I have a camera in my head, and if I see or hear something, I click it, and it stays.
She also explains how her frustrations with her disabilities tend to explode:
These things—I call them my “tornado explosions”— are pieces of me. All the stuff that does not work gets balled up and hyped up. I can’t stop, even though I want to, even though I know I’m freaking people out. I lose myself. It can get kinda ugly.
In Chapter 4, Melody reveals how she deals with both her advanced intelligence and her frustration with adults, again touching on the theme that we tend to treat those with disabilities as if they are not fully human:
I’m always amazed at how adults assume I can’t hear. They talk about me as if I’m invisible, figuring I’m too retarded to understand their conversation. I learn quite a bit this way.
And here's Melody's mother, touching on that same theme:
“I know the NAME of her condition, Doctor,” my mother said with ice in her voice. “But a person is so much more than the name of a diagnosis on a chart!”
She continues, addressing the definition of intelligence as the ability to adapt:
"All of us who have all our faculties intact are just plain blessed. Melody is able to figure out things, communicate, and manage in a world where nothing works right for her. She’s the one with the true intelligence!”
In Chapter 5, Melody gives an example of how people with disabilities express their humanity and interact meaningfully with others:
Even though she has trouble figuring out complicated stuff, Maria understands people and how they feel. “Why are you sad today, Melly-Belly?” she asked me one morning a couple of years ago. How could she have known that my goldfish had died the day before?
Toward the end of the chapter, Melody expresses how it feels to be intelligent yet unable to speak:
It’s like I live in a cage with no door and no key. And I have no way to tell someone how to get me out.
In Chapter 6, Melody recalls having to challenge herself physically, an example of her important struggle to increase her skills and strength:
But slowly, slowly, I felt my body rolling to the right. And then, unbelievably, plop! I was on my stomach. I was so proud of myself, I screeched.
Here, she confides in Mrs. V her eagerness to communicate:
Talk. I pointed to my board. I hit the word again and again. Talk. Talk. Talk. I have so much to say.
In Chapter 7, she's still expressing that same frustration, the same deep need to communicate, and this time, to learn:
I screamed because I hated...
(The entire section is 1,542 words.)