In Maniac Magee how does Maniac humiliate Mars Bar?

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Maniac Magee humiliates Mars Bar by taking a bite of his candy bar and then winning a race where he is running backwards.

Maniac Magee and Mars Bar had a rocky start to their relationship.  Mars Bar did not know what to make of Maniac.  He was a strange kid. ...

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Maniac Magee humiliates Mars Bar by taking a bite of his candy bar and then winning a race where he is running backwards.

Maniac Magee and Mars Bar had a rocky start to their relationship.  Mars Bar did not know what to make of Maniac.  He was a strange kid.  He did not react to Mars Bar yelling at him, and when Mars Bar offered him a bite of his candy bar, he bit it.  This shocks everyone.

The kid had done the unthinkable, he had chomped on one of Mars's own bars. Not only that, but white kids just didn't put their mouths where black kids had had theirs... And the kid hadn't even gone for the unused end; he had chomped right over Mars Bar's own bite marks. (Ch. 10)

The altercation continues.  Mars Bar tries to get a rise out of Manaic, but Maniac does not take the bait.  He seems to not be affected by race or how big a kid is.  He just keeps his cool.  Mars Bar of course has to save face after this encounter.  He sees that Maniac has Amanda’s book.  He takes the book from Maniac and while the boys tussle over it, a page rips out.  An old lady forces Mars Bar to give it back.

Maniac has to leave after the woman’s intervention, and jogs off thinking about returning the book to Amanda damaged.  Mars Bar catches up with him.  Amanda attacks him, and they leave.

However, this incident has disgraced Mars Bar.  He challenges Maniac Magee to a race to try to get his standing back in the neighborhood.

He laughed. They both laughed. Everybody laughed. Then Mars turned scowly again, saying, "But you ain't black enough or bad enough to beat the Mars man. We gonna race, honky donkey." (Ch. 38)

Unfortunately for Mars Bar, Maniac humiliates him again—by winning the race.  Maniac did wonder about the consequences of winning, considering where he is racing and the fact that he is racing Mars Bar, and in front of a big “hysterical” crowd.  So he decides to run backwards.  Mars Bar is horrified.  He tries to accuse Maniac of cheating, but everyone saw his embarrassing defeat.

 Although the consequence of the race is Mars Bar's hatred for Maniac, in time he realizes that Maniac was not intending to hurt him.  In his own way, he was trying to avoid confrontation.  He is disarming enough that even Mars Bar eventually comes around.

 

 

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