by Jerry Spinelli
Maniac Magee Innocence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Maniac felt why more than he knew why. It had to do with homes and families and schools, and how a school seems sort of like a big home, but only a day home, because then it empties out; and you can't stay there at night because it's not really a home and you could never use it as your address, because an address is where you stay at night, where you walk right in the front door without knocking, where everybody talks to each other and uses the same toaster. So all the other kids would be heading for their homes, their night homes, each of them, hundreds, flocking from school like birds form a tree, scattering across town, each breaking off to his or her own place, each knowing exactly where to land. School. Home. No, he was not going to have one without the other. (23.21)
Hm, maybe not so innocent after all. This is a pretty sophisticated thought—but at the same time, it's a little simplistic. Maniac may not see people in black and white, but he does see the world in black and white. For him, there's no in between. Either you have a home and go to school and have discipline and family home evenings; or you live in a buffalo pen or in a bandstand. No compromises.
The night before the game, Grayson spent half of it on his knees by his bed, praying. And even five minutes before the game, in the dugout, he bent down, pretending to tie his shoe, and closed one eye and prayed: "Please let me win this ball game.' Which was something, since he had never gone to a church in his life. (25.28)
Innocence can be lost all sorts of ways. Grayson loses his innocence after this botched game, because he loses his faith in himself. He just can't trust himself any more. And you know what? This is one kind of innocence that Maniac never seems to lose.
Sometimes my mom ain't got no sense. She makes me play games with them. Monopoly and stuff. Finally my father drives them home. (45.61)
This Mrs. Beale at her best: she sees the innocence under the bluster of Russell and Piper and realizes that they need, like all kids, is to be treated like kids.