Gwen 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.

In 'Freak the Mighty' by Rodman Philbrick, Gwen, or Fair Gwen of Air as her son calls her, is the mother of Kevin. In this lesson, we will learn more about Gwen.

Fair Gwen of Air

In Freak the Might by Rodman Philbrick, the beautiful Gwen is Kevin's mother. Kevin, or Freak as Max affectionately calls him, calls his mother the 'Fair Gwen of Air' because of his obsession with King Arthur and the Fair Guinevere. In this lesson, we will learn more about Gwen.

Fair Guinevere


The first time Max sees Gwen, as she is moving in to the duplex down the street, he notices that she is '…wearing these old jeans and a baggy T-shirt, and her long hair is tied back and she's probably sweating, but she still looks like a movie star. Like she has this glow, a secret spotlight that follows her around and makes her eyes light up.' There is a familiarity to her, but it is not until Max sees Kevin ordering the movers around that he realizes who she is. Max must have seen her picking up Kevin from daycare when they were little.


When Kevin goes to Max's house for the first time, Gwen panics when she is unable to find Kevin. She feels pretty overprotective because of Kevin's small size and frailty, but she is visibly shaken when she sees that he is with Max. As she gathers up Kevin and rushes away, Max thinks he has dealt with this before. People are always intimidated by his size.

Feeling guilty about the way she reacted, Gwen calls Max's grandmother to invite Max to dinner. Although he is hesitant, Gram is pushy, so he accepts. Max learns that Gwen was a friend of Max's deceased mother before she married his father. 'I never saw much of your mom after they got married. He made it … difficult for your mother to have any friends,' said Gwen. The real reason why Gwen seemed so upset when she saw Max is because she was so surprised at how much Max looks like his dad. Max's father is in prison for killing Max's mother. Dinner is fun, the hot dogs are great, and Max decides that Gwen is pretty amazing after all.

Loving and Supportive

Worried about Kevin getting around the school on his own, Gwen convinces the school and Max's grandparents to allow Max out to special education so that Max and Kevin can be in classes together. The decision to keep them as a unit helped both boys be more successful both academically and socially. She even buys Kevin a computer for his birthday so that if his illness prevents him from attending school, he will still be able to communicate with Max.

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