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Chapters 13 and 14 Summary

By October, everything seems to be going well at school for Max and Freak. The two of them are “like this unit”; Max helps Freak get around everywhere by carrying him on his shoulders, and Freak assists Max with his schoolwork. The arrangement is producing surprisingly positive results. If Max does not know an answer, Freak tells him what it is “in a way he can understand.” Max’s reading skills tutor is amazed with his progress, and his regular teachers find that if they do not require him to speak in front of the class but instead test him in a one-on-one setting, he can usually provide the proper responses, which proves he is quite capable of learning.

On Friday the thirteenth of that month, however, two catastrophic things happen. First, Max is called to the office and Freak is not allowed to go with him. Max is terrified that he is going to be placed back in the learning disabled class and vows to run away if this is suggested, but the real reason for his summons by the principal is much worse. The principal informs Max that a request has been forwarded to the school by the parole board on behalf of his father, but the mere mention of his absent parent causes Max to go into a hysterical fit. When the principal is finally able to calm him, Max finds himself hunched in the corner of the room and does not remember how he got there. He fears that he may have hit the school nurse, who is crying, and wonders what else he is capable of doing without realizing it.

Later, in the cafeteria, something even worse happens. Freak is eating one of his favorite foods, “American chop suey,” when his face suddenly gets “all red and swollen up” and he cannot breathe. Max runs to get the school nurse, who ministers to the victim. Fortunately, by the time the ambulance comes, Freak seems to be all right again. The principal comes to restrain Max when he tries to get into the ambulance with his friend. When she expresses sympathy for him because of the traumatic day he has had, Max immediately says that it is not him who needs comfort, it is Freak. Touched by his selflessness, the principal thoughtfully considers Max for a moment and says, “You’re going to be okay,...

(The entire section is 599 words.)