How is Mars Bar an everyday hero?  

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charsteph88 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The character of Mars Bar, from the book Maniac Magee, is an "everyday hero" because he is a very human character who learns an important lesson and grows from it; that is, he is just a regular person who makes a life-changing decision and acts on it in order to become a better person. The decision to let go of his prejudice and anger and to see people as individuals rather than as part of a larger group makes him a hero, because it is probably one of the most difficult things that any person would have to do but he still does it, regardless of its challenges. 

He sort of exists within his own little world, and he lets his own experiences and the preconceptions of white people that his friends on the East Side have dictate how he views Maniac Magee. This also comes through in how he treats him. However, over the course of the novel, he realizes that there are worthwhile white people who will treat you with respect, like Maniac, just as there are rude white people, like the McNabs. Even so, he rescues a McNab from the train tracks and brings him home.

The choice to treat others with respect, in spite of how they treat him, is one that he makes after he chooses to forget color and focus on the person within. He realizes that his own ignorance has stopped him from seeing the value in every human being, and that only he has the power to transform his own behavior. At the end of the book, he invites Maniac to live with him, and shows him kindness in his actions. The fact that he takes steps to change makes him an everyday hero; he does nothing more than any person is challenged to do, but in doing so, he becomes an example of positive change for others.