Freak the Mighty Chapter 4 Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

Chapter four of the Rodman Philbrick novel, Freak the Mighty is called 'What Frightened the Fair Gwen'. The boys continue to get to know each other better, but how will Gwen feel about Max?

Max Learns about Kevin

At the beginning of chapter four, entitled 'What Frightened the Fair Gwen,' in Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, Max has invited Kevin to visit his room. As the boys begin to get to know each other, Max learns why Kevin calls his mom 'Fair Gwen of Air' and more about Kevin's fascination with robots.


Kevin makes his way down to Max's room 'down under' and plops on his bed. Noticeably impressed by Max's private space, Kevin learns that Max goes upstairs to share meals with Grim and Gram, with whom he lives.

Kevin comments on the sobriquet, or nicknames, Max calls his grandparents. Kevin assumes that Grim has a grim, or uninviting, personality. Freak explains he calls his mom 'Fair Gwen of Air' after Fair Guinevere in the stories of King Arthur. Kevin's mother's first name really is Gwen, though.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Kevin's animation is intriguing are he retells of the story of King Arthur and Excalibur. As Kevin tells the story, it becomes obvious why he likes King Arthur stories. 'Hundreds of years before they had computers, they were already attempting to exceed the design limitations of the human body.' The Knights of the Round Table looked like robots in their armor.

Kevin is clearly infuriated when Max makes a comment about robots being fiction but forgives his stupidity and explains the robot industry. Robots don't look like the ones you see on TV. Most modern robots are used in major industry to put together heavy machines.

Max Hides His Limitations

Dismissive of the limited knowledge Max has acquired by watching television, Kevin explains that books teach him what is real and what is fiction. He offers to loan some to Max, but that makes Max feel uneasy. Embarrassed that Kevin may learn of his learning disability, Max agrees to borrow some books.

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