How is Morquio Syndrome described in the book Freak the Mighty?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best description of Morquio syndrome comes from Max himself during the second time he sees Kevin, while Kevin is shouting at the moving men. Max immediately notices Kevin as the child who rarely attended daycare, but when he did show up, had “shiny braces on his crooked legs” and called himself “Robot Man” as a result of those braces. As Max watches Kevin shout at the moving men, Max describes Kevin as “this crippled-up yellow-haired midget kid strutting around the sidewalk.” This shows that Max must be very small for his age. Further, Max says that Kevin has a “normal-sized head” but his body is quite twisted and is “shorter than a yardstick.” Kevin also uses crutches (in addition to the braces) to get around.

Max’s description of Morquio syndrome is not far from the truth. Children with this condition are short and also have a short neck. Due to scoliosis, the word “twisted” fits as well. Often children with this condition have a chest that sticks way out and cannot walk well. Their walk, then, resembles a duck’s walk. Some children with this condition only live a few years, but others have been known to live in to their sixties. As we know, Kevin dies at age thirteen.