Overcoming fear = Courage

By: Isabel Fuentes - Periods: 4-5

Development of Theme Analysis:

In "Freak the Mighty" the characterization of Freak and Max introduce the conflict to develop the theme. In the story, Freak has a disability where his body doesn't grow on the outside. He knows he's not going to have a long life, yet he hopes he can have a bionic body. Also, Freak's dad left him when he found out Freak had a birth defect. It states, "Kevin knew from a very young age that he wasn't going to have a very long life..but what happened is his heart got too big for his body." (157) But, Freak is very smart and can quote big words from a dictionary. This creates a conflict because all his life he knew he was going to die and he was probably really scared. Although Max is a really big kid, he isn't very smart. He has never talked very much and he has always thought he was a butthead. Also, Max's father murdered his mom and is now in prison.


When Freak and Max become friends, they go on quests and work together to solve problems. It helps both of them to overcome their fears and have courage which demonstrates the theme.

Reflection and Application of Theme

I knew right away when the theme was realized because there were so many supporting details. I think the theme is a really good theme for Freak the Mighty. Freak the Mighty is all about being courageous. There are so many conflicts for everyone so most of the characters have to have courage at some point. I agree with the theme because being in the shoes of the characters shows you the theme of the book. I think the author developed the theme well because there is a lot of evidence to support it. Also, I think the author told us that courage does not mean "not being afraid". The theme relates to my generation right now because sometimes we are lazy or lacking courage and we want someone else to do stuff for us. In addition, we also judge people depending on how they look or act really easily. Even though we read books like Freak the mighty, we still need to learn our lesson.

Freak the Mighty - By: Rodman Philbrick

Freak the Mighty is about a kid named Max who thinks he's a butt head. He isn't very smart but he is huge. He meets a kid named Freak who has a disability and is really small. Freak is really smart and can recite definitions from a dictionary. Max and Freak become friends. Together, they call themselves Freak the Mighty and go on many quests.


One night Max gets kidnapped by his murdering dad who was in prison. He is afraid so he doesn't fight back. His dad ties him up. His dad wants to run away with him using the help of Iggy and Loretta Lee. The Lee's decide to help Max instead. While Iggy distracts Kenny, Max's dad, Loretta tries to free Max, but Kenny finds her and almost chokes Loretta to death before Max finally stands up to his dad and tries to fight him. Then, Freak comes with a squirt gun which he pretends has chemicals and squirts it in Kenny's eyes. Max's father ends up going to jail.


Later, during Freak's birthday, he has a seizure and has to go to the hospital. A few days later, Max goes to visit him. Freak gives him an empty book so that Max can write down their adventures. The next day, Max sneaks out to visit Freak again. When he gets to the hospital he finds out Freak died. He has a tantrum. Then the doctor tells him that his heart got to big for his body and that the bionic body thing wasn't real.


In the end, the Fair Gwen (Freak's mom) moves to California and Max has to get over Freak's death. Eventually, Max writes the book about Freak the Mighty.

Author Information

Rodman Philbrick was born in 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts. He is an American writer of novels for adults and children. He currently lives in Maine and Florida. He married Lynn Harnett in 1980 and she died in 2012. Together, they wrote scary stories like The House on Cherry Street, The Werewolf Chronicles, and Visitors. Some of his pen names are W. R. Philbrick, William R. Dantz, and Chris Jordan. Freak the Mighty (1993) and its sequel, Max the Mighty (1998), were two of his most popular children's books. He has written nine books for young readers. He has received 15 awards for his books. Before Rodman Philbrick became a writer, he worked as a longshoreman and a boat builder.