Kevin 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.

Kevin, or Freak, as Max calls him affectionately, is one half of 'Freak the Mighty' from the Rodman Philbrick novel of the same name. In this lesson, we will learn more about this character.

The Brain

In the Rodman Philbrick novel, Freak the Mighty, Kevin is the brain and Max is the brawn. In this lesson, we will learn more about Kevin's struggle with Morquio syndrome, his big imagination, and his genius.

Morquio Syndrome

Kevin is not defined by his birth defect, but it does have a significant influence on his life. Kevin has Morquio syndrome , which is a rare metabolic birth defect which can include scoliosis, nerve deficiencies, and damage to major organs. This birth defect can be inherited when both parents have the recessive gene. Typically, Morquio syndrome results in a form of dwarfism where the head and chest are large in proportion to other parts of the body. Many people with Morquio syndrome have issues with mobility, heart problems, and vision, but have normal intelligence. In Kevin's case, he has above-normal intelligence.

When Kevin first moves into the duplex down the street, Max describes the scene.

  • 'There's this weird-looking little dude, he's got a normal-sized head, but the rest of him is shorter than a yardstick and kind of twisted in a way that means he can't stand up straight and makes his chest puff out, and he's waving his crutches around and yelling at the movers.' (Max)

As Max gets to know him better, he finds out that Kevin was raised by his beautiful, single mother, the Fair Gwen of Air. Kevin's father left when he found out that Kevin had a birth defect.

  • 'That stuff about my father was true,' Freak says, studying his fingernails and acting real cool again...'I know he ran away because of me.'

Despite the feelings of rejection that Kevin faces because of his father and sometimes his peers, Kevin chooses to have a positive outlook on life.

Kevin's Unique Brain

Entertained by Kevin's imagination and huge vocabulary, Max is immediately drawn to him. The first time Max has dinner at Kevin's house they have the time of their lives!

  • 'Expel the object!' Freak shouts. 'Regurgitate, you big moron!' and he gives me another thump and I cough up this yucky mess, but I'm still laughing so hard my nose is running.'

Before long, Kevin begins riding on top of Max's shoulders everywhere they go. While Max has the physical strength that Kevin lacks, Kevin is the brains of the operation. Together, they become 'Freak the Mighty'.

  • 'Freak is still holding tight to my shoulders and when they ask him for his name, he says, 'We're Freak the Mighty, that's who we are.' (Max)

From King Arthur stories, to robotics, to the Ice Age, Kevin creates fun adventures everywhere they go.

  • 'You don't need a time machine if you know how to remember.' (Kevin)

When dealing with his health issues, Kevin carefully chooses what he allows into his mind.

Kevin is fascinated by tales that involve improving the physical capabilities of the human body, like knights in armor.
Knight in Armor

The Truth

Does that mean Kevin doesn't know the truth about the seriousness of his condition?

  • When Max and Kevin first meet, Kevin tells him, 'Books are like truth serum-- if you don't read, you can't figure out what's real.'

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