by Jerry Spinelli
Maniac Magee Courage Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Maniac had to wrap Mars Bar in a bear hug to keep him from charging the fat red roller. The laughter stopped as if cut by scissors. The Cobras were standing. John McNab sauntered forward. ' You got a problem, sonny?' (42.34)
You couldn't pay us enough to go to this party if we were Mars. But go he does. And stays. Just to prove a point? Maybe. But his going and staying shows that he is more than brave enough to be Maniac's friend.
Mars Bar stared with growing astonishment at Maniac, whose wide, unblinking eyes were fixed on the trestle, yet somehow did not seem to register what was there. Nor did he seem to hear Piper pleading. With the drenched, mud-footed kid clawing at him, he turned without a word, without a gesture, and left the platform and went downstairs. Shortly he appeared on the sidewalk below. He crossed Main and continued walking slowly up Swede, Piper screaming after him from the end of the platform. (44.20)
Did someone forget to tell Maniac that he is supposed to be fearless? We get it, this is the site of a major tragedy, but we were still a little surprised that Maniac isn't able to help Russell.
Maniac told him the story of his parents' death. He told about his problem with the trestle, how he had learned to avoid it. "And then, all of a sudden, there I was, on the platform, looking out at it, closer to it than I ever was before, up on the same level. I always saw it from below before. Now I was up there, too, where they were, looking down, and it was more real than ever. The nightmare was worse than ever. I saw the trolley coming ... I saw it...f-falling...them...them..."
They walked in silence past the silo-shaped cage of the broken-winged golden eagle.
Mars Bar swallowed hard. His voice was hoarse. 'I knew you wasn't scared.'' (45.35-37)
So let's listen to Mars here, because he gets it. It isn't about fear, it's about trauma. This goes way beyond fear. That's a lot of understanding from a character who doesn't always show a ton of empathy.