Maniac Magee

Topics: Maniac Magee, Black people, Race, Human skin color, Newbery Medal, White people / Pages: 3 (1144 words) / Published: Nov 25th, 2014
“Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli is a novel that introduces the human rights violation of racism to children in elementary schools. Published in the 1990s, Spinelli decided to focus on an issue that was not widely discussed within the school systems and chose to inform fifth graders about segregation and the effect this can have on a person’s moral character. Within the novel a prominent theme of a sense of belonging is shown. Through the struggle of finding a home and his fluidity between the segregated sides of the city, Maniac Magee serves as a symbol of where to belong, whether it be with race or of finding oneself as a child. Through the issues of race that arise, Spinelli successfully gives the message to children of being true to oneself and the place that they make for themselves in the world, even if it is against the cultural norms. Maniac Magee is about Jeffrey Lionel Magee's search for "home" and the racial prejudice in the town of Two Mills. Jeffrey lived in Bridgeport with his parents until he was three years old until his parents die in a trolley accident then he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle. The household is extremely dysfunctional because his aunt and uncle never speak to each other and he decides to run away. Jeffrey begins his search for a new home and he ends up in Two Mills by the Schuylkill Bridge. Jeffrey learns that Two Mills is. He makes an acquaintance with a black girl named Amanda Beale, and Maniac is taken to her house. After revealing to Mr. Beale that he’s homeless, the Beales invite Maniac to stay with them. Maniac is happy with his life. He fits in with the Beales just like he belongs there; however, he is unaware of the prejudice that exists between the blacks in the East End and the whites in the West End until an old black man calls him "Whitey" and tells him to "go home." The situation escalates when graffiti is written on the side of the Beale house. When he realizes that his presence in the Beale house is hurting

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