Compare and contrast Max and Kevin in Freak the Mighty.

In Freak the Mighty, Max and Kevin are both social outcasts, and they have very different levels of self-confidence. They are both estranged from society in different ways, and they are physically different from their peers.

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Kevin and Max are two kids who bond and become close friends as a result of the fact that they are both disabled.

The first thing to be noted in a comparison between the two, however, is that their disabilities are remarkably different. Max has a learning disability, and despite the fact that he is a huge guy with remarkable strength, he has been made to feel stupid and worthless. Kevin, on the other hand, has a brilliant mind but has to wear braces on his legs as a result of his body being crippled by birth defects.

Of the two, it seems to be Kevin who is better equipped to deal with bullies and to keep his head during dangerous situations. When kids at school were being unkind to Max, Kevin climbs onto his shoulders and declares that together, then are "Freak the Mighty."

Kevin also seems to be a far bigger instigator of trouble than Max would ever be. While on their way to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Kevin antagonizes Tony D., who has his group of teenage thugs in tow, putting him and Max both in a potentially dangerous situation.

A heartbreaking contrast that can be made between the two is that while Max's condition is not life-threatening, Kevin's is. Following a set of seizures, Kevin dies, and Max is left to rebuild his life without the other half of Freak the Mighty.

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Kevin and Max develop a symbiotic relationship, but at the start, it seems unlikely that these two would develop a friendship due to their glaring differences. 

Max struggles in school and has a learning disability in reading. He describes himself as unintelligent. He lives in the basement of his grandparent's home (his mother's parents). His father is in prison and his mother is gone. He doesn't have a particularly close relationship with his grandparents, especially his grandfather, who he calls Grim. 

In contrast, Kevin is incredibly smart. The first time readers encounter him in the novel, he has created an ornithopter that has become stuck in a tree. This is the first instance of symbiosis--Kevin can't reach the ornithopter, and Max's size allows him to reach it easily. Max is befuddled by Kevin's enormous vocabulary. Kevin's relationship with his single mom is much different than his next door neighbor Max's relationship with his kin. It is clear that Gwen dotes on Kevin, and Kevin adores her. Kevin has Morquio syndrome, which causes him to have a twisted spine, short stature, and many health problems. While Max is physically healthy, Kevin is physically challenged. Together, they become Freak the Mighty, with Kevin relying on Max's physical strength, and Max relying on Kevin's brain.

The two were in daycare together when they were very young, and Max remembers Kevin. Kevin becomes Max's reading tutor. They become Freak the Mighty when Max lifts Kevin onto his shoulders to see a fireworks display, and then the pair tries to outmaneuver a trio of bullies chasing them. 


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go on to have many other adventures. Kevin is brave and daring but lacks the physical prowess to enact his bold feats befitting a chivalric knight. Max is introverted and prefers the safety of routine and his basement dwelling. He doesn't like conflict and would stay inside his turtle's shell if it weren't for the prodding of his only friend, Kevin. 

Max is insecure because of his father's past, and fears he will turn out like Kane the Killer. Kevin wants to defy his present circumstances and get a robot body so he will be free to do all the things he wants to do in life. 

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Physically and emotionally, Kevin and Max are polar opposites, but when the two boys are attached, they combine to become Freak the Mighty. Kevin is a tiny boy, hindered physically by a growth condition that has kept him in and out of hospitals and restricts his ability to walk except with braces. However, he is highly intelligent and incredibly upbeat about his unusual life. He lives with his mother, Gwen (affectionately dubbed Gwen the Fair after Queen Guinevere), next door to Max. Max is incredibly big for his size, quiet and highly introverted with few or no friends--until he meets Kevin. Like Kevin, he comes from a dysfunctional family, living with his grandparents, and we eventually come to learn that there are several dark secrets in his past. Both boys quickly discover that Kevin can move much faster if he is carried by Max, so Kevin spends most of his time on Max's shoulders. Together, they work as a perfect tandem: Kevin's weight is no problem for Max; Kevin can see better from his high perch, an asset for both; and with Kevin's intelligence and Max's size, their alliance as Freak the Mighty is helpful to them both.

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Compare and contrast Max and Kevin in Freak the Mighty. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different? In what ways do their differences complement each other?  

While differences between Max and Kevin certainly do exist, the two characters have enough in common to make their unique friendship both believable and beautiful.

A key similarity between Max and Kevin is that they are both social outcasts. Their peers and even adults think that Max and Kevin are weird. Both Max and Kevin are abnormally sized. The sizes are different between them, but it is the abnormality of the size compared to the rest of their peers that helps to socially distance each character from the norm. Max is huge, and Kevin is tiny.

Max is also estranged from being accepted and well liked because of who his father is. Even Max's own grandparents keep their distance from Max. Kevin is estranged from people because of his disease and personality quirks. This isolation is one reason why Max and Kevin work so well together. They understand the position that the other person is in, and they accept it.

Max and Kevin are different in a lot of ways. Max is a natural pessimist, and Kevin is much more optimistic about things. This is surprising since I believe that Kevin has much more to be sad about. He knows that his disease is ultimately going to kill him. Kevin is also far more creative and intelligent than Max, and this ends up being a great thing for Max. He learns how to make his own fun, and the two characters have wonderfully imaginative adventures together.

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