What is the conflict in Freak the Mighty?

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pnhancock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One conflict in the book Freak the Mighty is the internal conflict experienced by the narrator, Max. At the beginning of the book, Max has low self-esteem, believes that his grandparents don't love him, and internalizes the fear that others have of him due to his serial killer father. Max also has a learning disability, and as a result he believes himself to be stupid. When Kevin enters his life, the close friendship between them and the means through which they help one another overcome their limitations convinces Max that he has worth an value.

An external conflict in the text exists between Max and his father. Max fears his father, and his grandparents worry that Max will grow up to be like him. Shortly after Max's father is released from prison, he breaks into Max's room and kidnaps him with the intention of forcing Max to become his assistant. Soon after, Max's father gives up on this plan and decides to murder him by strangling him, just like he had killed Max's mother. This conflict is resolved when Kevin shows up and shoots Max's father in the eyes with a squirt gun full of vinegar and spices. Kevin had also called the police, who enter the apartment to arrest Max's father once again.