What are the external and internal conflicts about Freak in the book Freak the Mighty?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

External conflicts refer to the obstacles, struggles and trials that exist outside of a character. Internal conflicts, on the other hand, have to do with a character's inner (conflicted) feelings, making difficult choices, or indecisiveness. For Kevin in Freak the Mighty, his biggest external conflict is his disabled body which limits his capacity to move and to grow normally; or, it can be termed man vs. nature. Freak's internal conflict centers around his hope to obtain a bionic (robotic) body one day in order to keep on living; or, this can be termed man vs. self. Max, Freak's best friend and daily horse, doesn't quite understand what his friend actually faces, which is death (nature again). After Kevin tells Max about his inner hope to receive a bionic body from the medical research center, he also explains his physical situation as follows:

"No one stays like they are. . . Everybody is always changing. My problem is, I'm growing on the inside but not the outside" (89).

This explanation in no way defines what is medically wrong with Kevin. However, his internal and external conflicts collide here because his brilliant mind could take him anywhere in the world, but his body won't let him. Internally, Kevin chooses internally to face life with hope, confidence and happiness even though his external conflict, which is his body (and/or nature), will eventually die.