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What Genre is Freak the Mighty?

Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

After reading ''Freak the Mighty'', did you stop to wonder about the genre of the novel? If so, then you're in luck! This lesson explores the two literary categories that ''Freak the Mighty'' falls under.

What is Genre?

Have you ever wondered about the genre of a book that you're reading or have just finished? Maybe you've never given any thought to 'genre' before, but figuring out a book's genre can be important! Genre often determines which shelf a book goes onto in a bookstore, and many people have favorite genres of books and other stories.

In literature, a genre is a category made up of different books, short stories, and poems that have similar characteristics. For example, you're likely familiar with the fiction genre, a category that includes stories that are entirely imaginary or loosely based on actual events.

In many instances, a single book can be a part of more than one genre, just like the novel Freak the Mighty. Stay tuned to read about the two genres that Freak the Mighty falls under.

Young Adult Fiction

As mentioned above, fiction novels are stories that imagined -- or made up -- by the author. While Freak the Mighty is technically a fiction novel, it was written for a very specific group of readers. Freak the Mighty is considered a party of the young adult fiction genre, a literary collection geared towards readers ages 12 to 18.

Most young adult fiction novels share certain qualities. For starters, the main character is generally a person in middle school or high school. The character encounters all sorts of problems that your average 12-to 18-year-old might come across. In addition, young adult fiction novels typically use language that appeals to the intended reader.

So how can you tell that Freak the Mighty is for 'young adults?' At first glance, the main character Max Kane and his best friend Kevin (called 'Freak') are in the eighth grade. The two boys face all sorts of average teenage problems like bullies, trouble at school, and trying to fit in with other kids their age. All of these factors make Freak the Mighty perfect for young adult readers because the characters and their trials and tribulations are easy for those readers to relate to.

Coming of Age

In addition to being a young adult fiction novel, Freak the Mighty can also be considered a part of the Bildungsroman genre, otherwise known as a coming of age story. What exactly does it mean to come of age? Taken literally, coming of age refers to the point in a person's life where they're leaving childhood and entering adulthood.

Coming of age novels usually take readers on a main character's journey during this time of change and transition. That doesn't necessarily mean that it describes how a person's age changes over time. Instead, coming of age novels usually show how a character's worldview begins to change as they learn how to cope with adult problems.

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