Study Guide

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment Freedom and Confinement

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Freedom and Confinement

Here, my family and I could be ourselves. Here, we could live free. I mean literally free, as in, not in cages. (2.10)

Max may think that they're free in their house, but the flock members are still limited in where they can go and what they can do because they're afraid of being captured. That's no way to live.

They were just boring kids, stuck on the ground, doing homework. With bedtimes and a million grown-ups telling them what to do, how to do everything, all the time. While we were free, free, free. Soaring through the air like rockets. Being cradled by breezes. Doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. (19.5)

Max tries to believe that she and the other flock members are better off than "normal" kids, but deep down inside she isn't so sure. Homework does sound like a huge drag, but she's still missing out on all of the fun and security that comes with living an ordinary life with ordinary parents to look out for you.

She flung herself off the cliff, unable to keep a bittersweet happiness from flooding her chest. It just felt so—beautiful, to float in the air, to move her wings strongly and feel herself glide freely through space.

She flew alongside Fang, and he demonstrated the move for her. She watched him and imitated it. It worked great. (25.10-11)

Even when their situation is pretty dire, Nudge and the other flock members can still take great pleasure in flying. After all, while their flying ability is what sets them apart, it's also what gives them the most freedom.

Until I stepped into that house, I could still turn and run, escape. Once I was in that house, it would be much harder. Call it a little quirk of my personality, but I tend to freak out if I feel trapped anywhere. We all do—the flock, I mean. Living in a cage during your formative years can do that. (29.11)

Max is weird about trusting people or putting herself into situations where she doesn't have a guaranteed out. And it's no wonder, really, since she's spent a lot of time in cages, and she's definitely not eager to do so again.

It seemed clear that they were looking for the rest of the flock. It didn't matter whether they wanted to kill them or only kidnap them: Capture was unthinkable. (32.3)

Going back to the School is basically the worst thing that any of the flock members can think of—they'd rather fight to the death than go back to that place. It must be a really awful place to inspire that much dread and fear.

"It's a microchip," she said hesitantly. "We put something similar into animals. To identify them in case they're lost. Yours looks like a, like the ones we use on really expensive pets, show dogs and such. They have a tracer in them in case they're stolen. They can be tracked, wherever they are." (41.32)

Uh-oh, that's not good. All this time, Max has believed that she's totally free of the School's grasp, but it turns out that she's wrong. She has a microchip implanted in her so that no matter where she goes, they can find her. What's up with that?

"What a touching scene," Ari called down at me. "We're all going home. Just like old times." (58.22)

Talk about a worst-case scenario. Max's whole plan to storm the School and rescue Angel is not going according to her plans, and it looks like she and her friends are going to be taken into custody by the horrible, no good Erasers.

All these animals, even though they were stuck in enclosure, probably bored out of their minds, possibly lonely, still had it so much better than we'd had it at the School. I felt edgy and angry, nervous, still coming off my adrenaline high after being chased by the Erasers. Seeing all these animals made me remember too much about when I was little, when I'd lived in a cage so small I couldn't stand up. (78.8)

It's hard for Max and Fang to enjoy going to the zoo when they relate more to the animals than to the human visitors. It's definitely no fun being kept in a cage, and Max is tempted to set all the creatures free.

Sometimes it felt as if we would never be free, be safe. Never, ever, as long as we lived. Which might not be that much longer, anyway. (96.24)

Even when they're not being kept in cages at the School, the flock members don't feel totally free. It's hard to just relax and enjoy your "freedom" when you're constantly being tracked and attacked by scary human-wolf hybrids, after all.

The ocean. Another new and incredible experience. We'd grown up in lab cages until four years ago, when Jeb had stolen us. Then we'd been in hiding, avoiding new experiences at all costs. Now we were doing something different every day. It was a trip. (112.1-2)

Living away from the School was the better option, but the flock members still didn't get a chance to get out and experience new things a lot. Now that they're in New York City, though, they're going to pack in all sorts of cool adventures.

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