Study Guide

The Orange Houses Freedom and Confinement

By Paul Griffin

Freedom and Confinement

What does it mean to be free? For Fatima, freedom is what awaits her in America. The only problem? When she gets to New York, she finds that not everyone is pulling out the welcome wagon. Mik hears about new laws being passed about informants and police dealing with illegal immigrants—and while she's initially indifferent to the news, before long, she's downright angry. She wants Fatima to stay in America and hates that her friend's freedom is threatened.

<em>The Orange Houses </em>asks us to think about what it means for characters to be free, and ultimately, what that freedom is worth, and what cost is comes at. 

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. When do you think Mik starts caring about the immigration laws she hears about on television? Do you think it's fair that Fatima gets deported?
  2. What does freedom mean to Fatima? What does her reaction in the detention center tell us about how she views her freedom?
  3. Why is the Statue of Liberty so important to Fatima? What's significant about the mural the girls paint of the famous landmark? 

Chew on This

For Fatima, freedom is limited since she is in the country illegally. She does not get upset when her freedom is taken away from her, because she knows that she was trapped in America to begin with.

None of the characters really find freedom in <em>The Orange Houses</em>. They are all trapped in one way or another, but not all of them realize it. 

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