Memory and the Past Theme
Paul's memory, or lack of one, drives most of Tangerine's suspense and action. Our past is so important to our identity that missing any part of it creates a terrible void. And no one likes having a big chunk of empty brain in their head. Right, zombies? But Paul isn't the only one with amnesia. No one wants to talk about or remember Mike's death, either, until months later, when they finally plant a tree in his honor. And the new inhabitants have even mostly forgotten Tangerine's past as the tangerine capital of the world. Even though its name is Tangerine. How's that for blindness?
Questions About Memory and the Past
- What do you think Paul was like before he was hurt? Can he ever go back to being like that again? Should he?
- Why did he repress that memory, if it was so important in his life?
- What if instead of repressing the memory, Paul had substituted a false memory instead? How would that have affected things?
Chew on This
Remembering his own past, on his own, is more meaningful for Paul than if he had just been told what happened to him.
Paul's past affects every single thing that he ever does.