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A very basic storyline typically contains four main segments: the exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. Short stories are the easiest to analyze for one or more of these parts, but because novels are much longer, they tend to be more complex, and the storyline might not flow as simply as a short story tends to.
That said, it is important to understand that the exposition of a story almost always comes at the beginning, and involves the necessary details which help the reader understand the context in which the story is set. This includes an introduction to the main characters, the setting, background information (possibly), and most importantly, the conflict. While most novels give some exposition at the beginning of the story, keep in mind that there might be more characters, more background information, and even more conflicts introduced in a complex plot.
The simple exposition presented in Freak the Mighty includes an introduction characters, some background information, and the first conflict. The two main characters of course are Kevin and Max. Kevin is physically small and weak for his age, due to several birth defects, and Max is physically large and strong for his age, but severely emotionally damaged. Though an exact location is never specified, the story is set modern times and it is important to know that socially, Kevin and Max have realistic struggles and deal with typical reactions from their peers to such struggles. The main conflict lies in this social setting, where Kevin and Max pair up to become Freak the Mighty. The conflict includes the struggle to overcome physical and emotional differences (from others), as well as their family problems, together.
Let us remember that the exposition comes as the first of four main stages we can identify in the plot of stories and texts. It is the exposition that serves as the opening to stories, introducing us to the main characters involved, the setting and also the central conflict that the story focuses on. Obviously, this does not mean that the rest of the text will not introduce other characters and conflict, but traditionally, the main protagonists and the conflict that is normally related to the theme of the story is introduced in the exposition.
The exposition of this great novel therefore occurs at the beginning as we are introduced to Kevin and Max. Note what we are told about these two characters and the way in which they are contrasted. Kevin is presented as weak and small, whereas Max is larger and stronger, though he carries much more emotional baggage than Kevin. The conflict that the novel introduces in the exposition is the way that Kevin and Max take on society and their peer group by joining forces, placing them in internal conflict with society at large, including their peer group and their families.
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