Study Guide

Danny in Tales of the Madman Underground

By John Barnes


In the world of the Madman Underground, Danny is kind of the male version of Cheryl, "a one-man, two-clique wonder, leader of jocks and farm boys alike" (3.16-17). Regardless of how many groups he's in, Danny has Cheryl's magical power of belonging to multiple groups at once, both the most popular and the least.

Danny is like Cheryl in another way, though, and that's that even though he's a "brainy, all-American jock" (3.18) on the surface, he has problems, too. "My father's a drunk who hates me," he says in therapy. The victim of physical and mental abuse, Danny suffers from horrible, unpredictable fits of emotion and "awful crying jags" (3.18). Suddenly, popularity doesn't seem like it solves all of life's problems.