Figurative Language in Freak the Mighty

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Figurative language is incorporated into the text of the novel 'Freak the Mighty' by Rodman Philbrick to engross the reader in this story of two lonely boys in their early teens who find themselves after finding each other.

Bringing Life to the Story

Rodman Philbrick captivates the readers of his novel Freak the Mighty by choosing words that add color and life. In this lesson, we will look at some different types of figurative language that you will find in this novel.

Figurative Language Terms and Examples

Alliteration is using words with similar sounds close together for effect. In the following passage, '...., a cop car cruising real slow along the road around the pond...' three words in a row that begin with the hard 'c' sound are an example of alliteration.

Hyperbole is the use of embellishments to make a point. When Max, the protagonist, says, 'I never had a brain until Freak (Kevin) came along and let me borrow his for awhile, and that's the truth, the whole truth,…' it is an exaggeration. Obviously, he has a brain in his head, he just doesn't use it to think things through.

Idiom is an expression that is used in a culture that means something completely different from the literal interpretation of the words. In this example from the story, 'Which cracks me up, even though I don't understand a word he's saying,' Kevin is making Max laugh. 'Cracks me up' is an idiom that means to make someone laugh, not that they are literally 'cracking.'

Metaphor is a comparison of two things that are not alike without using 'like' or 'as.' Even though Max knows better, Grim, Max's grandfather, says, 'The poison never crossed his lips..' In this phrase, Grim is comparing alcoholic beverages to poison.

Onomatopoeia is the use of sound effects as words. Onomatopoeia helps the reader hear the story and obtain a five sensory experience. ''I'm Robot Man'' 'little Freak would go, making these weird robot noises as he humped himself around the playground. Rrrr. . . rrr . . . rrr ... like he had robot motors inside his legs,…' While 'rrrr' is not an actual word, it is used as a word in this text to help you imagine the sound a robot would make.

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