In Freak the Mighty, why does Kevin refer to his mother as The Fair Gwen of Air?

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belarafon's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Kevin, or Freak, is a reader and is enamored with the stories of King Arthur. Because his mother is so patient and so kind, he refers to her as The Fair Guinevere, a representation of the ultimate kind woman in his mind. Max, being dyslexic, doesn't catch the reference and thinks that Freak is saying "The Fair Gwen of Air," a simple mistake which is compounded by Freak's mother being named "Gwen."

"So how come you call your mom 'Fair Gwen of Air,' is that a nickname?"
"Guinevere," [Freak] finally says, catching his breath. "The Fair Guinevere, from the legend of King Arthur."
(Philbrick, Freak the Mighty, Google Books)

This nickname shows Freak's knowledge and his tendency to idealize people based on fictional characters. Freak wants the real world to be more like the adventures in books, and real people to be both better and idealized. For Max, the nickname is at first strange, making him think that the cruel stories about Freak are true; later, he understands the true meaning of idealization and adopts parts of Freak's speech patterns for himself.

pmsteele's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

It's a play on words, and Kevin's way of telling his mother that he thinks highly of her.  Kevin is a fan of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Camelot, where Guinevere is queen. Thus, for the imaginative Kevin, the fair Guinevere becomes Fair Gwen of Air. 

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