Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee Literary Elements


Children's Fiction

Setting and Context

The fictional town of Two Mills in Pennsylvania in the 1980s/1990s

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person narration

Tone and Mood

Though the mood may be somber at times due to Jeffery's lack of home and family, there is generally a tone of warmth and excitement.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Jeffery "Maniac" Magee is the protagonist. Antagonists might be Mars Bar Thompson or all of the inhabitants of East End who react negatively to Jeffery, though they come to accept him.

Major Conflict

Jeffery "Maniac" Magee needs to find a home but seeks it out in the black section of Two Mills, Pennsylvania.


Russel and Piper McNab are playing "Bombs Away" on the trolley trestle when they discover how high they are, which scares Russel so much that he can't get down. Maniac gets too scared to get down, likely because of his parents' deaths, leaving Mars Bar to save them.


Spinelli frequently ends chapters with foreshadowing such as "Maniac loved almost everything about his new life. But everything did not love him back" (56). There is also a "Before the Story" chapter at the beginning of the book that foreshadows Jeffery becoming the legend "Maniac Magee" and some of his accomplishments in East End.


Grayson first tells Maniac that he wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up, not telling him that he went on to play in the Minor League.


A reference to the Samaritans, from Bible verse Luke 10:33, is made to describe someone as good or helpful.


Strong imagery from the time period is used as well as description of the different places Jeffery lives.





Metonymy and Synecdoche