Study Guide

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment Courage

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"You know we have to go after Angel. You can't be thinking that we would just let them take her. The six of us look out for one another—no matter what. None of us is ever going to live in a cage again, not while I'm alive." I took a deep breath. (11.10)

Yeah, the prospect of going to the School to get Angel is scary, but the prospect of leaving her there is scarier. Max is definitely not going to let her fear of the scientists keep her from rescuing her little flock member.

Angel knew it was a dream because Max never cried. Max was the strongest person she knew. Not that she had known many people. (16.5)

Max doesn't show any weakness around the other flock members, which is why Angel thinks that she'd never cry. But what she doesn't know is that Max can be an awesome and courageous leader and still cry when she's afraid.

But if worse came to worse, I had a secret Plan C. If it worked, everyone would escape and get free. Except me. But that was okay. (18.10)

Talk about a true leader. Max is like an army general—she's going to lead her troops into battle, but she's willing to sacrifice her own life for their safety. There's no way that she's letting them go down without a fight.

It gets so tiring, this strong-picking-on-the-weak stuff. It was the story of my life—literally—and it seemed to be a big part of the outside world too. I was sick of it, sick of guys like these, stupid and bullying. (21.6)

There's nothing more disgusting to Max than strong people picking on the weak and young, which is basically what the Erasers are doing to her flock. When she sees it happening to someone else, she's not going to stand by and watch—even if she's dealing with strangers.

But I was honest enough with myself to know that I really couldn't go on like this—wet, cold, starving, and a little wonky from loss of blood. I had to suck it up and accept help. From strangers. (29.12)

Oddly enough, accepting help from a kind stranger takes more guts for Max than getting into a scrappy fight. She's so distrustful of other people that it's less scary for her to fight off Erasers than it is to enter someone's home and accept medical attention.

There were a few moments of silence, as if we were all gathering our courage again. I know I was, trying to pull my strength into a tight, hard ball that would carry me through the rest of the day, as we headed back to our worst nightmare. (51.18)

Going back to the School is as terrifying as walking into a haunted house, but the flock members feel better when they're all together. They wouldn't be able to storm the School alone—but together, they just might have a fighting chance.

My throat closed up. That she was still trying to be brave just rocked my world. I felt ashamed for taking so long to get here, ashamed for letting the Erasers catch us, ashamed for being a failure, even as a freak. (59.4)

Angel is the baby of the group, but she's no pushover. When it comes to putting on a brave face, she's a total pro. She doesn't even start crying when she's finally reunited with the flock again.

The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.

Like right now. My choices were to either give in and let them kill all of us or fight back with everything I had. (64.1-2)

It'd probably be easier to give up and just accept her fate, but Max isn't that kind of girl. She's determined to fight back and to make sure that her friends survive—even if it means facing off against some gnarly Erasers.

Stunned, I shut my gaping jaw and went over to him. When I put my hand on his shoulder, he pushed it away. The others crowded around—it was so unusual for Gazzy to break down like this. He was always my little trooper. (102.2)

All of the kids in the flock are so stoic when it comes to danger and mayhem that it's hard to remember that they're really just… well, kids. The Gasman's been a good little soldier this whole time, but he's bound to break down. After all, he's only eight years old.

One thing I guess I should mention—I was really, really afraid now, more afraid than I'd ever been before, and I didn't even know why. Maybe I didn't want to know the truth. Also, my head was throbbing, and that had me a little crazy too. Was I going to die? Was I just going to fall over and be gone from the world and my friends? (121.2)

Max may seem like she's totally confident in front of the other flock members, but inside she's actually terrified. Maybe that's real courage, though: moving forward and fighting even when you're scared to death.

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