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by Edward Bloor

Tangerine Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why is Tangerine written in the format of a journal, divided into dated entries instead of chapters? How does that affect the way we understand the text? And if it's supposed to be a journal, why is it divided into Parts 1, 2, and 3?
  2. Does the style of writing in Tangerine really sound like a middle school student's journal? Why or why not? Is the writing style affected by Paul's personality? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. Would Paul's parents have reacted in the same way they did to Erik's violence towards Paul, if they had caught Paul hurting Erik? Why or why not?
  4. Why is Paul able to make friends when he transfers to Tangerine Middle School, while Joey has a meltdown?
  5. What are the differences between these two friends? Are there similarities?
  6. What does Paul's and Erik's choice of sport say about each one of them? What about the position each one plays?
  7. What are the differences between Paul's family and Tino and Luis's family? Why are they so different? Think about each family's relationship to nature and society. Could that have anything to do with it? What exactly?
  8. Why do Paul's parents finally admit that Erik has done something wrong, when Mrs. Fisher discovers the stolen items in the storage unit? What is it about that crime that makes it worse for them than his partially blinding Paul? What does the way they try to deal with it tell you about their values?
  9. Why does Mr. Fisher, who was so obsessed with Erik, suddenly start acting like he doesn't really care what happens to him, once he finds out he was involved in someone's death? Did he ever really love him? Does he really love Paul?
  10. What are the differences between Tangerine Middle School and Lake Windsor Middle School? Why are they so different? Which does Paul prefer, and why? What does it tell you that in the end, he leaves both and is sent to St. Anthony's, a Catholic school? Do you think he will like it there? Why or why not?

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