In Freak the Mighty, what is the irony in the new tenements being called the New Testaments?Chapter 9-11

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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It is ironic because the “New Tenements” are run down slums and the New Testament is comprised of the story of Jesus Christ, which is of hopeful lessons and ultimately, redemption and eternal life. This is actually fitting because the story is about the power of imagination and transformation. Freak is physically impaired and Max has never studied enough to become smart. But together, they transform into something greater than themselves. Freak is constantly creatively playing with language and they are always on some quest. Here again, they are transforming themselves and their situation into something more profound. They do this to make life more interesting and to inspire hope in seemingly hopeless situations. When they first meet Loretta, there’s nothing very redeeming about her. But she eventually does become symbolic of the damsel in distress and a friend. This is another transformation. This is also fitting because her transformation parallels the boys’ mental transformation of the “tenements” to the more inspiring stories of the “testaments.”

This idea of transformation, via imagination, is key to Freak’s happiness. Even though he knows he is very sick, he has to at least try and believe that he can transform into the “first bionically improved human.” Freak transfers the hope of his own transformation onto the world around him.

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