What happened in chapter five of Maniac Magee?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Chapter five begins with a commotion in the backyard of Finsterwald's house, "a graveyard of tennis balls and baseballs and footballs and Frisbees" that no kid dares approach. The notorious Finsterwald house seems to have something of a terrifying reputation, much like the Boo Radley house in To Kill A...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Chapter five begins with a commotion in the backyard of Finsterwald's house, "a graveyard of tennis balls and baseballs and footballs and Frisbees" that no kid dares approach. The notorious Finsterwald house seems to have something of a terrifying reputation, much like the Boo Radley house in To Kill A Mockingbird.

The commotion begins with the screams of a ten-year-old boy who is in the process of being hoisted over the fence and into the backyard "like some poor Aztec human sacrifice" by a group of bullies. The ten-year-old boy hits the ground and freezes, paralyzed by the terrifying reputation of the notorious house. The bullies cheer and holler from the safety beyond the fence.

Then the narrative jumps ahead to "years later" when rumors still abound as to what happened after the boy froze and, more specifically, as to the identity of the mysterious "Samaritan" boy who rescued him. The chapter concludes on something of a cliffhanger, at least for the boys in the story, with the mysterious rescuer, "cool times ten," sitting down calmly to read a book on the "forbidden steps" of the Finsterwald house. We, of course, know that this is no other than the Maniac Magee of the title.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Chapter Five, we are introduced to 803 Oriole Street, home of the infamous Finsterwald. All the neighborhood kids know never to go near Finsterwald's home. When their balls and airplanes land in Finsterwald's backyard, they leave them there rather than retrieving them. 

One day, a group of high school bullies picks up Arnold Jones and hoists him over the fence and into Finsterwald's yard. The high school kids hear the chattering of Jones's teeth; he is terrified to be in the yard. 

Maniac bravely saves Arnold by rescuing him from the yard. To show his courage, Maniac then proceeds to sit down on Finsterwald's front steps and calmly read a book, a feat that impresses the other kids who would never dare to touch the steps.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team