Study Guide

Tangerine Memory and the Past

By Edward Bloor

Memory and the Past

An old familiar feeling came over me, like I had forgotten something. What was it? What did I need to remember? (Prologue. 1.10)

Paul knows that he's forgotten something—but he can't remember what it is. Maybe that's why he accepts the story he's been told about the eclipse.

"You're remembering all the good times you had here, aren't you?" (Prologue.1.27)

Um, hello, what family are you from, Mrs. Fisher? Good times? This is a pretty leading question—and we're not sure that Paul can even come up with one good time.

I expected to hear something about Mike over the loudspeaker, but the only announcement they read was about reduced tickets to a carnival. […] No "Pray for Mike Costello" (1.11.3)

Any normal school would have grief counselors on hand, and encourage students to talk about the death. But not Lake Windsor. Would Tangerine Middle School?

Look, we can't even deal with not remember where we put our keys—and Paul is struggling to cope with missing an entire chunk of his childhood. To make it worse, he knows that his brother has something to do with it. No wonder the guy is messed up.

Look, we can't even deal with not remember where we put our keys—and Paul is struggling to cope with missing an entire chunk of his childhood. To make it worse, he knows that his brother has something to do with it. No wonder the guy is messed up.

I'm not going to dwell on this. I'm just going to say it and get on with my life. (1.13.1)

That's the thing about Paul—he is definitely a trooper. But he's not being quite honest with himself, because the definition of keeping a journal is dwelling on things.

But it was also comforting to hear that something around here has a history. That something actually belongs here. (1.15.24)

So things with a history, with a memory, belong somewhere. Maybe Paul's amnesia makes him feel like he doesn't belong anywhere—and maybe recovering his memory tell us that he's finally found a place to fit in.

Erik can't laugh this off. Erik can't leave this humiliation behind him. (2.6.44)

Erik is the opposite of Paul. It's not that he can't remember—it's that he refuses to forget. So amnesia might be back, but so is holding a grudge.

Did [Betty Bright] mind this painful memory being plastered across the front page of the newspaper? Did she mind having to relive that punch in the eye? (2.19.5)

This is kind of Paul. But we suspect that he's really thinking about his own situation. Does he really want to relive his 'own punch in the eye?'

Somewhere around that time, so they say, there was an eclipse of the sun. I didn't remember that. But I remembered all the rest. (3.9.90)

Check out the "so they say." That tells you all you need to right there: Paul doesn't believe it. He's going along with the story, but he knows perfectly well that there's more to it.

Mom and Dad looked at each other. There was no question about it. They remembered. (3.9.92)

We have to ask: did Mr. and Mrs. Fisher ever forget, even for a moment? And do they feel guilty at all?

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