Freak the Mighty Chapter 3 Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

'American Flyer' is the name of the third chapter in the Rodman Philbrick novel, 'Freak the Mighty'. In this chapter, we will begin to see how brilliant and capable Kevin is as Max and Kevin learn more about each other.

Max and Kevin Bond

Max is uncomfortable after his first interaction with Kevin, but he is not really sure why. When Max is able to get up his nerve to actually speak to Kevin for the first time, he is mesmerized by his abilities and talents. Kevin teaches Max about his ornithopter. According to Kevin, an ornithopter is 'an experimental device propelled by flapping wings,' or a mechanical bird.

During the third chapter of Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, we will watch the relationship between Max and Kevin unfold.

Kevin's Frustration

As Max returns to his basement down under, he reflects about why a big guy like him is scared of this tiny, little handicapped boy. He realizes that it is not as much about thinking the Freak can take him as it is about the discomfort of being in such a peculiar and bewildering situation.

By the time the basement begins to feel claustrophobic and Max has regained his nerve enough to return the yard, Kevin is beating an old tree with his crutch and looks furious that he is unable to jump up and hit a high branch. Finally, he gives up, throws his crutch and crawls back into the house to get his red wagon that he parks under the tree. Kevin (Freak) returns to the tree, steps up on the wagon, and tries again to smack the tree with his crutch.

The Ornithopter

Max sees that he is trying to get something from the tree, but even with the wagon, it is not happening. Being careful to keep his distance from the crutch and the glare from Kevin as he approaches, Max retrieves a little plastic bird-type thing from the tree and hands it to Kevin. Max asks him what it is. Kevin contemptuously explains that it is an ornithopter. Max is immensely impressed by Kevin's enormous vocabulary as Kevin demonstrates the operation of the ornithopter, which is also impressive.

An ornithopter is a mechanical bird.

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