Theme Of Sight In Tangerine

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The realistic fiction novel Tangerine, written by Edward Bloor, follows the tale of a dysfunctional family and the dark secrets that they are slowly discovering within themselves. The author uses the motif -a repeated theme or idea in the story- of sight to further the story and in doing so, gives the character better understanding of each other and the truth. Through the motif of sight, Paul -the main character in the novel- has a growing understanding of his friends, family, and himself. The first group Paul experiences a growing understanding of is his friends. One example of this is Joey, Paul’s first friend in Tangerine who originally is non-judgemental but, when he transfers to Tangerine Middle, shows Paul another side of himself in…show more content…
Once example of seeing and not seeing of Paul in his family is his parents, best represented in Paul’s flashbacks of his past. “‘Honey you know how it is with your eyesight. You know you can’t see very well.’ And that was that. But I can see. I can see everything. I can see things that Mom and Dad can’t. Or won’t” (4). This is just after Paul blamed Erik for trying to kill him with a baseball bat. Mom is failing to see the obvious disconnection between Erik and Paul as well as turning a blind eye to the accusation made by Paul and the suggestions being made by it. This reveals to Paul that his mom, like his dad, tries to see only the good in Erik and because of his visual impairment, disregards any of his accusations of Erik. Another example of seeing and not seeing in regards to Paul is with his grandparents, this is just after Erik and Arthur are arrested for the murder of Luis Cruz. “Grandpop leveled a stare at him. ‘We did tell you so. Erik did need help. He needed a doctor’s help’” (287). This shows that some of Paul’s family members are (like him) able to see the true side of Erik. This reveals to Paul that he is not unknown and helps him understand that his grandparents care about him and understand his fear of Erik. In both of these quotes from the story, Paul’s family is either seeing (grandparents) or not seeing (Mom and Dad) Paul’s relationship with his brother and why their relationship is the way…show more content…
After rescuing some of his fellow students from a sinkhole, Paul encounters Gino, who -contrary to Paul’s own opinion- thinks of Paul as a hero because of his brave actions. “He said,’Mars, my man! Good work out there.’ …. I faced down danger today, maybe even death. When disaster struck, we all had to do something. I’m not saying I was a hero. All I did was slide around in the mud and try to pull people up” (83, 85). Paul does not think of himself as a hero on any means, even after risking his life to save others. This shows that he can’t see that he is a strong minded and important person. Another example of Paul discovering more about himself is when he finally remembers what happened to his eyes. “And I remembered Erik’s fingers prying my eyelids open while Vincent Castor sprayed white paint into them” (264). Paul is trading his literal eyesight in this quote for a figurative form of sight. He is able to “see” Erik for who he is and Paul can “see” who he is, meaning why he is afraid o f Erik and lifting his self-esteem as well as his understanding of himself. In both quotes Paul is either seeing (not recognizing himself as a hero) or seeing (flashback of Erik) aspects of his own life and personality and why he is the way he is, changing how he feels about
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