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Freak the Mighty

Freak the Mighty

by Rodman Philbrick

Cunning and Cleverness Theme

It'd be easy to break Freak the Mighty into a simple black and white scenario: Freak is smart and Max… isn't. But you Shmoopers know that things are never as simple as they seem. Even if Max calls himself a "butthead," there's more going on upstairs than he thinks. Over and over in Freak the Mighty, he proves that he's one smart dude. What's the lesson? You don't have to be Freak-ishly brainy to be smart.

Questions About Cunning and Cleverness

  1. Why does Max think he isn't very bright? Is this totally internal, or have outside forces made him think this way?
  2. Who is the smartest character in the book? Why?
  3. How does Max prove his intelligence, to himself and to others?
  4. Is Freak just book smart, or does he have other kinds of intelligence, too?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Freak is smarter than Max. That's just the way it is.

Freak is able to help Max in school because he understands him better than his teachers do.

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