Loretta 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.

Loretta Lee drinks too much and causes a lot of trouble, but there may be more to her than meets the eye. In this lesson we will learn more about Loretta Lee from the Rodman Philbrick novel, 'Freak the Mighty'.

First Impressions

Have you ever thought you had someone pegged as a certain type of person, only to realize later they're more complex than you might have thought? Maybe you still didn't like them much, but learned to give them a little more credit?

When Max and Kevin first meet Loretta Lee in Rodman Philbrick's novel, Freak the Mighty, she comes across as rude, crass, and dangerous. But as Max and Kevin learn, few people fit perfectly into categories. As they get to know her better, they realize that even Loretta has a good side. We will learn more about Loretta in this lesson.

Damsel Who Causes Distress

When Max and Kevin recover the stolen purse that they saw one of Blade's gang members stashing in the sewer, Kevin has dreams of saving a damsel in distress. Soon, Max points out that the owner of the purse, Loretta Lee is more of a 'damsel who causes distress.'

First of all, the identification found in the purse indicates that Loretta lives in the 'New Testaments', which is the nickname for the tenements. The tenements are a dangerous part of town that is filled with drugs, violence, and poverty. Max is not supposed to go there, but Kevin convinces him that it is a good idea.

When they arrive, Loretta opens the door to reach for the mail before she ever even sees them. Max describes her as 'a scrawny, yellow-haired woman with small, hard eyes and blurry red lips. She's wearing this ratty old bathrobe and she's smoking this cigarette...'

Yelling and cursing, she tells her husband Iggy, the motorcycle gang leader that the circus is at their doorstep.

Loretta is married to the leader of the motorcycle gang.

Loretta is a Troublemaker

After Iggy practically forces the boys inside, Loretta remembers how she knows them. She calls Kevin's mother, 'stuck-up Gwen' and recalls that Max is Killer Kane's boy. Drunk and ready to start some trouble, Loretta tries to get Iggy to rough them up a bit. The author describes her manner, 'She pokes Iggy or tickles him and in this strange giggly voice she says, 'Whyn't you find out? Find out if he's as strong as he looks?''

Iggy is unwilling because he seems afraid of Max's dad. As the boys are leaving, she says, 'It's good luck, rubbing a dwarf on the head.' Poor Kevin hates being rubbed on the head, but what can they do? Just before closing the door, Loretta tells Kevin about his father, 'Your old man was a magician... He must be a magician, because as soon as he heard the magic words 'birth defect,' he disappeared.'

Obviously, she is not a very nice person, at least not in this context, but when they meet again, things are different.

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