Freak the Mighty Questions and Answers
by Rodman Philbrick

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What is an important event in the story Freak the Mighty?

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This book is filled with many events that most readers would classify as "important." I'll provide some of those events in the following list:

  • Kevin (Freak) moves in next door to Max. This is pivotal to the entire story; I don't believe that Max and Kevin would have become the amazing duo that they became without this proximity.
  • Max's dad is paroled from prison. This is important because it leads to the next important moment.
  • Max's dad, Killer Kane, kidnaps Max on Christmas Eve.
  • Kevin rescues Max from his father.
  • Kevin has a seizure and goes to the hospital. Max goes to visit Kevin. Kevin gives Max a blank book, and he tells Max to fill it with stories of their adventures. This book eventually becomes the book that we, as readers of Freak the Mighty, are experiencing.
  • Kevin dies. This is a massively important moment in the book because it sends Max into a depressive spiral for about a full year. Then, Max starts to write in the blank book that Kevin gave him, and readers are blessed with the story that they just read.
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Kevin and Max have many adventures during the novel, Freak the Mighty, but the most serious and dangerous one comes on Christmas night. After a wonderful holiday, Max suddenly awakes from a pleasant dream to find his father, "Killer" Kane, hovering over him. Max is kidnapped and taken to the projects, the New Testaments. His father holds him in a dirty, abandoned apartment, where "Killer" tells him that he plans to take Max away with him. "Killer" learns that the police are after him, so he moves Max to another, more delapidated apartment where he bounds and gags Max in the basement. Max manages to free himself, with the help from Loretta, but "Killer" intervenes and begins choking the woman. Max attacks his father, who then begins to choke Max. But, like Lancelot to the rescue, Kevin suddenly appears and sprays a concoction of spices into the eyes of Max's father, temporarily blinding him, and the police return "Killer" to custody. As the Fair Gwen carries him away, Kevin calls out "Freak the Mighty strikes again!"

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karmat | Student

One important event in Freak the Mighty occurs early in the story. It is when The Fair Gwen sees Max for the first time and her reaction to him.

Kevin and Max had just met, and Max had taken Kevin to see "the Down Under,' the nickname he has given his basement bedroom. During this time, Gwen had noticed Kevin was missing and went to look for him. When the boys come up out of the basement, Max describes their first encounter.

She catches sight of me coming up out of the down under and it's like someone shot her. Like she's scared out of her mind. . . . It's pretty simple, really. She's scared of me.

Later that evening, Gwen invites Max over for dinner "to apologize." Through the course of the conversation, Max finds out that Gwen was startled because he looks so much like his father. When asked, Gwen replies

I never saw much of your mom after they got married. he made it . . . difficult for your mother to have any friends."

It is only two sentences, but when taken with her initial fright at seeing Max, it is possible to make some inferences about Maxwell's father being a frightening man and possible violent, or at the very least, controlling of Max's mother because he wouldn't let her have any friends.

This passage is critical to the book because it begins to develop the conflict that will later be introduced when Kenny Kane shows up unexpectedly. It also gives us critical insight into his father's character and, when taken with other clues such as Max not wanting his grandmother to know how much he remembered about preschool, and his mother Angela, who is described as a dear-departed daughter, we can begin to speculate and make inferences about what caused her death.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, it is important because it begins to set the mood of the book. What begins as a story of two boys and new friendship is quickly overshadowed by a sense of impending doom because a violent father and a deceased mother, and another character who knew them both.