Freak the Mighty tells the story of Max Kane, a seventh grader who is formidable in stature but struggles with an undiagnosed learning disability and the trauma of losing his mother to violence at a young age. Max's new neighbor Kevin "Freak" Avery appears to be the polar opposite. Freak's small size is due to a rare genetic disorder that makes it difficult for him to walk. After striking up a friendship, Max takes to carrying Freak up on his shoulders and thus, "Freak the Mighty" is born!
Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop a greater understanding of literary structures. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in Freak the Mighty. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
FREAK THE MIGHTY by Rodman Philbrick
EXPOSITION / CONFLICT
Freak the Mighty is the story of Max Kane, a 7th grader who takes after his father in that he is very large in stature. Despite looking the size of an adult, Max has trouble in school and has difficulty passing every grade. He has an undiagnosed learning disability coupled with trauma from losing his mother to violence at a young age. However, when Max meets Kevin "Freak" Avery his life begins to change.
CLIMAX / TURNING POINT
Kevin, nicknamed Freak, is extremely small for his age at only about 3 feet tall in 7th grade. He suffers from a physical condition that makes it difficult to walk and has leg braces and crutches. Freak is extremely well-read and has an astounding vocabulary. Freak seems to know everything about everything! He is especially fond of literature and adventure stories such as those about "King Arthur". Both boys have difficulty navigating the world of middle school and strike up an unlikely friendship.
Max and Freak form a close bond and go on many adventures together. Max often carries Freak up on his shoulders which earns them the nickname "Freak the Mighty" because together they are unstoppable. They outsmart bullies and attend all their classes together. Freak helps Max learn to read and write. Freak tells Max that one day he will get a "Bionic" body to help with his condition. One of Max and Freak's adventures leads them to the home of Iggy and Loretta Lee, two ex criminals who reveal that Max's dad is Kenny "Killer" Kane, in jail for murder.
Freak the Mighty
Max's father killed his mother when he was a small boy. He has been in prison ever since but is up for parole. One night while Max is sleeping, Kenny kidnaps him and forces him to come with him to Iggy & Loretta's house, where he ties him up and tells him that he was unjustly imprisoned. When Max says that he knows Kenny killed his mother, he goes into a rage almost killing both Max and Loretta. Freak comes to the rescue just in time and outsmarts Kenny with a water gun!
Max's father is sent back to jail. However, their relief is short lived. Freak suffers a seizure and is rushed to the hospital. Max learns that Freak's story about a "Bionic" body was just that - a story. He knew that he would not survive his condition, which is called Morquio syndrome. Before he passes away, he gives Max a blank notebook telling him to write about all their adventures together.
Max takes Freak's passing very hard. He is depressed for about a year. Finally, he summons the courage to take out the blank notebook that Freak gave him and begin to write. It is here when the reader realizes that the book we've been reading is just that: Max finally channeling his grief into writing about his and Freak's "unvanquished" friendship and their epic adventures.