How did Jeffrey save Arnold Jones in Maniac Magee?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Maniac saves Arnold when he stuck in Finsterwald’s back yard by grabbing him and taking him out.

Finsterwald’s house is frightening to the children on the block.  It is the kind of place where kids dare each other to go.  A group of high school boys push Arnold into the yard, and he gets a case of the “finsterwillies,”  which means his arms and legs are shaking.  Maniac comes to rescue Arnold, who is now so frightened he faints. 

Unfortunately, he chose to put Arnold down at the one spot in town as bad as Finsterwald’s backyard…. (ch 5, p. 19)

Maniac carries Arnold to the front porch and sits reading a book until Arnold comes to and runs away.

This chapter demonstrates how Maniac became a legend (the incident is mentioned on the first back), and why.  Maniac obviously cares about others, but he has some aloof ways of helping.  His approach to Arnold’s problem is downright bizarre, but it shows that he is clearly not afraid of the neighborhood monster.

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