The young adult novel Tangerine can be a powerful reading experience, especially when paired with insightful discussion questions.
Using Tangerine by Edward Bloor discussion questions in the classroom can help your students develop their understanding of the book.
Tangerine by Edward Bloor tells the story of Paul Fisher as he moves to a new home in Tangerine County, Florida. He faces drama in his own family with a bullying older brother, Erik, a dad who is too concerned with Erik's future as a football star to pay much attention to Paul, and a mom who is just trying her best to hold them all together. Because of a childhood accident, he is visually impaired and wears thick glasses. Throughout the course of the novel, Paul learns to be more comfortable in his own skin; he learns to stand up to his fears and he learns the truth about the childhood accident that damaged his sight.
Using Discussion Questions
Having the students respond to Tangerine by Edward Bloor discussion questions as journal prompts is a good way to get the ideas flowing. If students are hesitant to jump into the discussion, ask a few students to read their journals to get the conversation started.
Not all discussion questions need to have a "correct" answer. Opinion-based questions can develop students' critical thinking skills and help them relate to the issues raised by the novel on a personal level. Encourage students to return to the text to find specific passages and quotations to support their opinions.
In an ideal world, students would engage in discussion for the sake of developing a better understanding of a novel. However, many students will need some outside motivation.Teachers can assign points for participation, or give students a specific grade based on the quality of their contributions to the discussion.
List of Questions
- Which character do you most identify with? Explain.
- Would you want to live in Lake Windsor Downs? Why or why not?
- How do the problems in nature, such as the muck fire and the termite infestation, parallel the problems in Paul's family?
- Paul talks about the weather remembering what Tangerine County used to be like as the reason for some of the unpleasant conditions (e.g., he thinks the Donnelly's house is repeatedly struck by lightning because it is in the spot that used to be the highest point in a grove, so the lightning remembers and continues to strike that spot).What do you think of his theory?
- Describe the differences between Lake Windsor Downs Middle School and Tangerine Middle School.
- Was it right for Paul's mom to "lose" his IEP when he transferred to Tangerine Middle School? Explain.
- Name some key moments in Paul's acceptance at Tangerine Middle School.
- What does it mean for Paul to be a Tangerine Middle School War Eagle?
- Why do you think Paul is so successful at Tangerine Middle School while Joey can't handle the new atmosphere?
- What did Luis Cruz mean to Paul? Explain.
- Were you surprised to learn the truth about Paul's eyes? Why or why not? What clues did the author provide throughout the book?
- Why do you think Antoine Thomas came clean about his residency at the end of the football season? Do you agree with his decision?
- Were you surprised to learn that Erik and Arthur were responsible for the robberies? Why or why not? What clues did the author provide throughout the book?
- What do you think life will be like in the Fisher family after the events in this book? Explain.
- What message does 'Tangerine' share about the destruction of natural spaces for industrial development?
- How does the book develop the theme of appearances vs. reality?