What does Gram ask Max to do with regard to the hoodlum boy?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tony D. is an older boy who likes to pick on Max. Tony's nickname is "Blade" because he carries a knife and has a couple of friends who assist him in carrying out his criminal mischief. Max explains in chapter 6 that Tony has been in and out of juvenile detention three or four times. Rumor has it that he actually cut another boy with a razor and the boy almost died. Max says, ". . . everybody says the best way to handle Tony D. and his gang is, you avoid them. Cross the street, hide, whatever it takes" (29-30). Max tells Freak that you can't just be brave and face off one-on-one with Tony—you have to fight his whole gang if you do that.

On the night of the Fourth of July, Freak and Max run into the pond near their neighborhood to avoid Tony D. and the gang. The cops come to help them and they are safe because Freak used his brains to tell Max where to run. When Max gets back home safe to Grim and Gram, they give him ice cream and coffee. In chapter 8, Gram says the following:

"I want you to promise me something, Maxwell dear. Promise me you'll keep away from the hoodlum boy and his awful friends. Nobody got hurt this time, but I shudder to think what might have happened" (43).

Grim, on the other hand, thinks that Max could take the boys because he's so big and strong, but rather than contradict his wife, he tells Max that "evasive action" is different than running away. Max is lucky that he has such good and supportive grandparents looking after him.

Kathryn Draney eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • With regard to the hoodlum boy, Gram asks Max to keep away from him and his awful friends.