probably already guessed that the orange houses are important since they're in
the title and all. But check out what Mik tells us about the houses she calls
<em>The Orange Houses were
not orange. They were beaten brick the color of the sky this drizzly dusk. Some
long-dead architect Casper Orange slapped together the nine jail-like towers
way back when. Small, deep-set windows grayed cinderblock hallways noisy with
the houses aren't orange—the guy who built them's last name was—and everything
about them is pretty depressing. Mik even compares them to jail, for Pete's
sake. And that "hallways noisy with need" bit? Yeah, everyone who
lives in the Orange Houses is poor. And that means Mik and her family are, too.
doesn't just give us a bit of economic info about Mik, though—it helps paint a
picture of the world she lives in, along with Jimmi and Fatima. These are not
high rollers, but people barely scraping by, and importantly, Mik is the most
well-off of the group. Fatima can't believe she and her mom have a whole
apartment instead of just a room, and Jimmi, well, Jimmi lives in a cave.
the houses are a dump, a reminder of how much her mom struggles to keep them
barely afloat. To Fatima, however, they are a dream. These conflicting attitudes
on the houses demonstrate the differences in the girls' lived experiences:
Fatima sees the houses as representing the potential for a brighter future,
whereas Mik only sees the poverty that's in front of her. And because of this,
the houses also represent perspective: They may not be orange, and they may not
be awesome, but they are what you make of them.