Study Guide

Tangerine Family

By Edward Bloor


It may not be the Addams Family, but it's close. Most of Tangerine focuses on the dysfunctional family dynamics between Paul, Erik, and his parents. Family has made both Paul and Erik who they are. (Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.) In Paul's case, this isn't bad, because he's a nice kid. In Erik's case, it's downright dangerous. Like evil dominoes, families shape people, who then shape society. By the end, we know that we'd all be a lot better off with more families like the Cruzes and fewer like the Fishers. Yay! Go love and closeness and all that good stuff!

Questions About Family

  1. Why does Paul like hanging out at the Cruz grove so much, rather than at his own home? Is it just the tangerines, or something more?
  2. What is it exactly that differentiates Paul and his family from Tino and Luis's family?
  3. Who is most at fault for Paul's eye injury—Erik? His mother? Or his father? Why? 
  4. What other families do we catch a glimpse of in Tangerine? What are they like?

Chew on This

If Erik had grown up in the Cruz family instead of his own, he would have turned out a decent person, instead of the monster he is today.

Even if Erik had been punished for hurting Paul, he still would have turned out a bully.

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