In Freak the Mighty, why are Grim and Gram so afraid of Max doing something bad?

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In chapter one of Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, Maxwell describes his past in daycare and his current pubescent life with Grim and Gram. Back in daycare, when he was about four years old, Max had issues with people trying to hug him. Max's solution to this problem was to kick everyone. With humor, Max says the following:

"I invented games like kick-boxing and kick-knees and kick-faces and kick-teachers and kick-the-other-little-day-care-critters" (1-2).

That might be somewhat normal for young kids as they are going through phases and learning how to get along with others, but because Max's dad is "Killer Kane," Grim and Gram wondered if he would turn out like his father.

Now that he is twelve and physically large compared to kids his age, he is also starting to look more like his father, which scares Grim a little bit. Max even overhears Grim talking to Gram about him and his father in the kitchen one night.

"Grim says that night in the kitchen, the boy is like him, we'd better watch out, you never know what he might do while we're sleeping. Like his father did. And Gram right away shushes him and says don't ever say that. . ." (3-4).

Therefore, Grim and Gram are nervous that Max might do something bad because he was a holy terror in daycare, and now that he's bigger and looking more like his father, they worry that he will do bad things like his father did. This is a perfect example of stereotyping, and worst of all, it's about their own grandson who hasn't grown up with his father to even learn his ways. But, as a literary device, this helps to create mystery and suspense in an effort to build the setting and characterization of the story.

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