Study Guide

Freak the Mighty Friendship

By Rodman Philbrick

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And for some reason little Kicker never got around to kicking little Freak. (1.6)

Imagine that. A kid who's known for kicking everyone around him, and Max manages to leave Freak alone. Are these two cosmically linked or something? What's the deal? Why doesn't Max give the kicking treatment to Freak when they're young?

What I do, I keep out of range of that crutch and just reach up and pick the paper thing right out of the tree […] I go, "You want this back or what?" (3.11-12)

This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, wouldn't you say? If that's the case, can we say that Max actually befriended Freak instead of the other way around?

Making friends. What a wet idea that is, but Gram gets her feelings hurt pretty easily, so I don't actually say that. What I say is, "Yeah, I guess so." (5.11)

What do you think "wet idea" means? And why do you think Max feels this way about making friends? As far as we know, he's never had any bad friend experiences, right?

I know it's okay; he's not flipped out because I picked him up and put him on my shoulders like he was a little kid. (6.27)

This is true friendship if we ever saw it. When Max and Freak come together physically, it solidifies the emotional relationship they've already formed.

There's nowhere to go but into the pond, like Freak wants me to. (7.25)

Talk about a literal leap of faith. Max has to trust Freak enough to run into a nasty pond. And you know what? He takes the leap, and it pays off.

Freak is still holding tight to my shoulders and when they ask him for his name, he says, "We're Freak the Mighty, that's who we are." (7.44)

And Freak the Mighty is born. Does giving their bond a name make it any stronger? Does it change the way they think about each other? Or is it just a cool way to refer to themselves?

This is why we came here, so Freak could show me where he's been. The place is important to him. I understand this much. (9.46)

Real friends care about the stuff their friends care about. Does Max totally get this, or is he just along for the ride?

Grim is saying, "Let's give it a try, nothing else has worked, maybe what he needs is a friend, that's the one thing he's never had with all those special teachers." (12.26)

Grim totally gets it. Adults can try and try with Max, but what he really needs is a peer—someone who gets him. Since he doesn't have any siblings, that's going to come in the form of a friend. Freak, to be exact.

Me and Freak are like this unit. (13.1)

Freak the Mighty might be a unit, but they're also unique individuals with unique personalities. What do Max and Freak have in common? What makes them different?

I know about that because Freak has been showing me how to read a whole book and for some reason it all makes sense, where before it was just a bunch of words I didn't care about. (13.5)

Why is Freak able to get through to Max when none of his teachers had been able to? Is it easier to learn from a friend?

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