In Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, why is Kevin not afraid of many difficult situations he finds himself in?

Expert Answers
tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, Kevin suffers from a physically debilitating disease. He explains to his friend, Max, that his interior is growing faster than his exterior. Because of this, Kevin hopes that science will catch up to his body's physical needs and find a cure for his illness, or that some type of robotic body might be created for his use. Kevin is smart, though. He knows he doesn't have much time to live, so he doesn't want to waste a day of it hiding in his room or being afraid. For example, he refuses to allow his friend Max to sleep too long on summer mornings, as shown in the following passage:

"Each and every morning the little dude humps himself over and he bangs on the bulkhead, wonka-wonka-wonka, he may be small but he sure is noisy. 'Get outta bed, you lazy beast! There are fair maidens to rescue! Dragons to slay!' which is what he says every single morning" (44).

Because Kevin gets around best while riding on top of Max's shoulders, he wakes up his friend every morning to get out of the house to experience life. Not only that, but Kevin also faces difficult situations with courage because he has Max, who is huge for his age, as his friend. For example, when the town bully, Tony D., threatens Kevin and Max during the Fourth of July festivities, Kevin confidently mouths off as follows:

"Ignore the cretin. . . Cretin. C-R-E-T-I-N. Defined as one who suffers from mental deficiency" (31).

Fortunately, a siren sounds and the bully and his friends run away. Kevin tells Max that he assumes Max could fight those bullies since he is so big. To Kevin's surprise, Max informs him that there's no way he could fight Tony and all of his friends. Kevin asks, "You mean you couldn't take him and I was giving him lip?" (31). This incident proves that Kevin feels more confident out in public when he is with his friend Max. Because Max is physically strong, Kevin feels as though he can be as confident physically as he already is mentally. The next time they meet Tony D., though, Kevin confidently tells Max to run into the pond rather than fight. Max is strong enough to hold them both in the mud and water until the police arrive.