by Jerry Spinelli
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Hector Street is more than the address of Cobble's Corner. It is thedividing line between the East and West Ends. In other words? It divides the black side of town from the white side.
We first find this out when the Cobras are chasing Maniac. He's running, running, running and suddenly notices that "the voices behind him were growing faint. He slowed, turned, stopped. They were lined up at a street a block back. They were still yelling and shaking their fists, but they weren't moving off the curb. And now they were laughing. Why were they laughing?" (9.14)
The Cobras are laughing because they're pretty sure Maniac is about to get his behind whooped by the black kids living in Hector Street. And this little incident shows us how much power Hector Street holds. When both Mars and his crew, and Big John and his gang, are following Maniac out of town, the middle of Hector street is the only safe place: "So he turned and started walking north on Hector, right down the middle of the street, right down the invisible chalk line that divided East End from West End." (21.11)
Maniac is stuck in the middle, literally and figuratively. The only place he's safe is the no man's land in the middle of the road, with cars honking at him from both directions. But that doesn't sound too safe to us. Can he really stay stuck in the middle forever?