Homework Help

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

user profile pic

pattypuff | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2009 at 9:10 AM via web

dislike 1 like

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

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 9, 2012 at 7:29 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

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.

Sources:

user profile pic

pmsteele | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2009 at 6:29 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

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. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes