Study Guide

Freak the Mighty Appearances

By Rodman Philbrick

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That's when I got my first look at Freak […] Looking sort of fierce is how I remember him. (1.5)

If you remember, Max is nicknamed "kicker." So if he's calling Freak fierce, Freak must be one tough cookie. And guess what? He totally is.

It's more than just the way Maxwell resembles him, Grim says that night in the kitchen, the boy is like him, we'd better watch out, you never know what he might do while we're sleeping. (1.12)

Grim can't help it. The fact that Max looks like his dad makes him think that Max is like his dad. Does Grim seriously think Max could be a murderer? Or is he referring to something totally different?

Wearing these old jeans and a baggy T-shirt, and her long hair is tied back and she's probably sweating, but she still looks like a movie star. Like she has this glow, a secret spotlight that follows her around and makes her eyes light up. (2.7)

Ah, the Fair Gwen. She seems to be one of those characters whose appearance isn't deceiving. She's as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Not too shabby.

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. (2.10)

We get quite a colorful description of Freak from Max. You know what we noticed about this passage though? There's no judgment involved. Max is totally just observing Freak's look without thinking anything else of it. He's like the poster child for anti-bullying movements. Go Max!

"What she means is, you're a spitting image of your old man." (5.35)

Leave it to Freak to be blunt about the truth. Here, he's telling Max why Gwen was so surprised when she saw Max. Why is Gwen herself so hesitant to point this out?

Except that's how it must have looked from a distance, because they never knew it was Freak who rescued me—or his genius brain and my big dumb body. (8.3)

Appearances aren't just about how people look. Remember, events can also appear different to different people. Max thinks Freak saved him, while the police think Max saved Freak. Which version of the story do you think is closer to the truth?

Mrs. Addison comes over and pats me on the shoulder. I can tell it makes her nervous, touching me, but she does it anyway. (13.26)

What is making Mrs. Addison nervous here? Do you agree with Max that it's his appearance?

"First thing, like I already said, I never killed anybody. I'm big like you're big, so folks assume things they shouldn't. You understand what I'm saying?" (17.31)

Sure, we agree you shouldn't judge people based on their appearance. But do you think for one second we're going to fall for Killer Kane's act? Not a chance.

"They hated me from first sight. On account of my appearance, and because I wasn't good enough for their precious daughter. As if a man should be blamed for how fearsome he looks, when in fact he's a truly loving person inside." (17.35)

Does Kane describe himself in a similar way to how Max describes himself or do they think of themselves differently?

It all goes to show, like Grim always says, that you can't always judge a book by the cover. (21.7)

Aha. We always knew we liked Grim.

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