Study Guide

The Orange Houses Chapter 3

By Paul Griffin

Chapter 3

TAMIKA

  • At the Bronx West housing project, a.k.a. the Orange Houses, twenty-five days before the hanging, Mik hurries out of the rain.
  • She hikes up ten flights of stairs to get home, only to find NaNa passed out on the couch with Tostitos crumbs all over her. Mmm… Tostitos.
  • Mik fills us in on who NaNa is. You might think with a name like NaNa, that she'd be Mik's grandma, but actually that's just a nickname; NaNa got it because she's always willing to watch the kids for the neighborhood, as long as a free meal and a beer are involved.
  • NaNa started watching Mik years ago, and has basically never stopped, even though Mik is fifteen and doesn't need a babysitter anymore. Mik's mom just doesn't have the heart to tell NaNa to split.
  • Mik turns on her hearing aids but hears a bunch of stuff she doesn't want to: NaNa's snoring, the television talking about reward money for reporting on illegal immigrants… you name it.
  • So she turns her hearing aids back off. She'd rather the silky silence.
  • As Mik starts to draw, she can hear her mom in her head telling her it's a waste of time. She's always saying drawing is a waste of time and Mik should be studying so she can get in to a good college. College? Ha. If Mik has anything to say about it, she's done after high school.
  • She keeps sketching to take her mind off everything.