Why did Mars Bar Thompson treat Maniac the way he did?

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Mars Bar Thompson is as deeply affected by the town's racial segregation as everyone else. He was born and raised in the East End, the black side of town, and harbors a long-lasting resentment towards the white folks who live in the West End of Two Mills. As Maniac is...

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Mars Bar Thompson is as deeply affected by the town's racial segregation as everyone else. He was born and raised in the East End, the black side of town, and harbors a long-lasting resentment towards the white folks who live in the West End of Two Mills. As Maniac is white, Mars Bar sees him as just another one of "them" and therefore not someone to be trusted but rather despised.

Over the course of the book, however, Mars Bar's attitude changes considerably. This is because Maniac clearly doesn't fit in with his stereotyped view of white people. Maniac is unique in that he appears completely free from the racial prejudice towards African-Americans that is widespread among the West Enders. In the early stages of the story, whenever Mars Bar gets mad at Maniac—such as when Maniac beats him in a race—he's really venting his anger at white people in general. It's only when he comes to know Maniac as an individual, the real person behind the skin color, that he starts to divest himself of the racial blinkers that have distorted his world-view.

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Maniac made Mars Bar angry.  He challenged him when usually no one else did.  Maniac went to the East End one day.  He had been there before, but never on a Saturday.  This time, there were kids everywhere.  Soon he ran into Mars Bar.  He was munching on his signature Mars Bar candy bar.  Mars Bar confronted Maniac for being a strange kid in the East End.  The other kids around them egged Mars Bar on, telling him to beat up Maniac.  Mars Bar shoved his candy bar toward Maniac and sarcastically asked him "'Wanna bite?'"  Maniac did not seem to notice the sarcasm.  Instead, he took a bite and thanked him.  That really made Mars Bar angry.  He started to fight Maniac.  Then they started fighting over Amanda Beale's book.  This fight probably would have gone on if a nearby lady hadn't stopped it.

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