Study Guide

Tangerine Society and Class

By Edward Bloor

Society and Class

Lake Windsor Downs offers four choices to homebuyers, each named after a British royal family. […] Mom absolutely loves that. […] Mom will soon be describing people like this: "They're the two-story Lancaster with the teal trim" (1.3.6)

Mrs. Fisher actually identifies people by the house they have—how much more materialistic can you get? (Not much.)

There's a fancy little guardhouse on the island, like something the kings and queens in history would have built to keep out the serfs, or the Vandals, or whoever.[…] It's empty inside, but I cold see a dirty ashtray and a wastebasket full of soda cans. (1.3.8)

Symbol alert: the guardhouse is fancy on the outside, but trashy and empty on the inside. Just like the people of Lake Windsor Downs.

It occurred to me that I've never lived in a development that was finished. I have always lived with overflowing construction Dumpsters and portable toilets sitting on boards. (1.6.1)

And Mrs. Fisher likes it that way. Why would she think it's better to live somewhere like that, than to live in an established, older neighborhood, without the Port-a-Potties? We'd think that Port-a-Potties would really bring down the tone.

"Paul, I'm talking as someone who never, ever lived in a nice house growing up. Or even anywhere near a nice house" (1.8.13)

Mrs. Fisher is trying to compensate for a poor childhood, but she's not doing a great job of it. (She'd probably be better off actually paying attention to how her sons feel.) Why do you think other people live in Lake Windsor Downs?

"You seem to want to make this a rich-versus-poor or a have-versus-have-not issue, right? But a bolt of lightning is not aware of a kids' parents' income when it hits him" (1.12.20)

True. Unless the reason it hits the kid is because it's attracted to all the coins in his pocket. Seriously, though, do you really think Mrs. Fisher cares about the poor kids?

The citrus packers walked from those lime green cement-block houses into that packing plant—that huge and magnificent structure. (1.15.25)

So it's old and maybe a little tacky-looking. So what? It was built to last. And notice that no natural disaster has knocked it down, in all the years it's been there. Now that's what we're looking for in a house.

"Low-rent" was a compliment for this thing. (1.15.27)

And yet, the Lake Windsor kids still had fun at that carnival in Tangerine. But to preserve their coolness, they still have to diss it. They wouldn't want anyone thinking they actually belonged there.

Wayne wouldn't say it, he was too polite, but I knew what he was thinking: How come you're not back at Lake Windsor Downs with the rest of them, complaining about the mosquitoes, and the termites, and the muck fire? (3.3.55)

Complaining might work with a neighbor, but if you complain to Mother Nature, and threaten to tell the HOA about her, she's not going to listen. The only thing she listens to is hard work.

They agreed, reluctantly, to give Erik and Arthur that second chance. The second chance you get when your parents can guarantee full restitution. (3.12.40)

Lake Windsor kids can get away with more, so their crimes are worse. So what if the Tangerine guys kicked a statue at a carnival? These guys steal and murder, and yet it's the Tangerine kids who get thrown in jail.

"I guess I figured you'd all be looking down your noses at us. And some of those kids were. But not you" (3.13.30)

Theresa sees that Paul is not like Joey or Erik, because he hasn't let his family's social class affect the way he sees the world. Why is that? (We're thinking is has something to do with his glasses.)

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