by Jerry Spinelli
Maniac Magee Theme of Race
Oooh, boy. This is a big one. Two Mills is divided in two, and never the twain shall meet… until Maniac, who's just crazy enough to make it happen. Maniac is white, but the first family he finds a home with is black. Does that matter? Should it? Throughout Maniac Magee, Maniac shuttles back and forth between the East and West End, searching for family and a place of his own. The color of his own skin and that of those his around him doesn't matter a lick, but he's repeatedly faced with the fact that not everybody feels the same way.
Questions About Race
- Is Grayson racist? What makes his attitude towards East Enders different from the McNabs?
- Why doesn't Maniac leave the McNabs as soon as he realizes what the pillbox is for?
- Will Maniac's ongoing presence in the East End have lasting change?
- What's the difference between Grayson's attitudes towards blacks and the McNab's attitude towards blacks?
Chew on This
Maniac's colorblindness puts him in danger, but it also makes him uniquely suited to bridge the gap between the East and West End.
If he hadn't died, Grayson has the most potential to undergo a sea change in his attitudes about race.