The Mighty, a Review

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The Mighty is based on a fictional children's novel, written by Rodman Philbrick. As Special education teachers come in all shape and sizes. For Maxwell Cane, an eighth grade student with a learning disability, his special education teacher turned out to be Kevin, a peer with a physical disability. This story focuses on two-disability categories- one mental/emotional (Max) and one physical (Kevin). Persons with exceptionalities will applaud the unique relationship between Kevin and Max. What the one person did not have, the other one did, and the two of them together seemed to make a whole person-a somewhat superior person at that, brains and brawn, Freak the Mighty!

Max is big and tough, but is ridiculed and called stupid, his self-confidence is too low to verbally defend himself. When Kevin is tormented, he tends to get himself into trouble because he verbally stand up to others, but then cannot run to get away. I am trying to imagine any eighth grader who could not identify with Max's remarks while ridding on top of Kevin's shoulders, "I like how it feels to have a really smart brain on my shoulders, helping me to think." Of course, most eighth graders who saw this movie would appreciate the part about how together, Kevin and Max, was able to outsmart the local bully, the fearsome Blade and his gang. When the gang was spotted, Max murmured to Kevin, "Tell me what to do." Using Kevin's brains and Max's brawn, Freak the Mighty lured Blade into the cold pond water, thus becoming a hero.

In P.E class, Kevin was not participating, but Max listened to his peers and hit Kevin with the ball, although he knew this was wrong. Like any other student at this tender age, he wanted to be accepted by his peers, regardless of right or wrong. Later the two students play basketball together, despite the schools request that Kevin does not participate in sports, Max carries Kevin on his shoulders as the crowd chanted, "Freak the Mighty, Freak the Mighty." As this happens you could see the confidence on their faces grow. Although, each one of them on their own was ridiculed and stereotyped by most of society, once the two had been recognized as this great combination they were no longer ridiculed, but praised.

Because this story is told form the perspective of both Max and Kevin, it could be used to help a child better understand a sibling or a peer with a disability.
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