In Maniac Magee, is Grayson from the West End or the East End?

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Grayson is from the West End.

After Maniac runs away, he ends up in Two Mills.  When Maniac meets Amanda, she asks him where he is from.  She assumes he is from the West End, but he explains that he is from Bridgeport.

She stared at him, at the flap-soled...

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Grayson is from the West End.

After Maniac runs away, he ends up in Two Mills.  When Maniac meets Amanda, she asks him where he is from.  She assumes he is from the West End, but he explains that he is from Bridgeport.

She stared at him, at the flap-soled sneakers. Back in those days the town was pretty much divided. The East End was blacks, the West End was whites. "I know you're not from the East End." (Ch. 3)

Race means nothing to Maniac, which is the reason he stayed with Amanda in the first place, since her family is black.  However, it means nothing to Maniac.  It is important in Two Mills, though, and Maniac has to leave the Beales to protect them.  He ends up in the buffalo pen at the zoo, where the groundskeeper, Grayson, takes him in.  Grayson is surprised that Maniac was living with a black family.

"And where you live."

"Well, I did live on Sycamore Street. Seven twenty- eight. "

"Did?"

"I guess I don't anymore."

The old man stared. "You said Sycamore?"

"Yep."

"Ain't that the East End?"

"Yep." (Ch. 22)

Grayson is white, so he is from the West End.  He is not judgmental of where Maniac was living, but is curious.  Maniac helps him understand that blacks and whites are pretty much the same, except for where they live in this case.

Maniac lives with Grayson until he dies.  Then he has nowhere to go again.  Since his parents died, he was happiest with Amanda’s family, the Beales.  He decides to go back to them, because their house has become his home.

Although most of the story is a lighthearted fantastical romp, there are some serious elements to it.  Racial segregation is an underlying theme in the story, and it helps remind us that while people are not always alike, that doesn’t mean that they won’t get along.

 

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