Graham Patten’s essay on Tangerine

Issues of racism and classism come out in the story through Paul’s relationships to different groups. There are people depicted as tough, and not as mentally advanced as some their age. And there are the kids who are considered less cool, but are smarter and wimpier. Paul’s relationships to these people differ. He feels he cannot deal with some of them, and he feels that he can deal with, or be more comfortable around others.

Paul has different relationships to two groups of people: the hot shots, some of whom are not particularly mentally advanced, and the smart, wimpy kids. Paul feels uneasy around some of the hot shots, but comfortable around others. He is uneasy around people like Erik. He does not want to deal with him basically because he is afraid of him and thinks that he is insane. "I thought, because Erik is a psycho, Mom. Do you really not know that? "(203). But there are also cool hot shot kids who he feels easy around, and wants to make friends with, like Tino and Victor. He knows that they are tough and can be hard to get along with, but he thinks he can make friends with them.

Paul also has trouble dealing with some of the people who are not considered so "cool"; the meeker, smarter, wimpier kids, but he can also feel confident around some of this group. Joey is an example someone who is low in class or popularity in Lake Windsor Downs. Although Paul seems to make friends with him, Joey turns out to be the wrong kind of kid for Paul. Eventually he sees that he does not want to deal with Joey’s attitude. He notices that Joey is a bit too stuck up for him. For example, in their conversation about Theresa on the first day of their second school, Tangerine, Joey asks, "Do you think she’s good looking? I thought about that. Yeah. I guess I do."

Joey still had that cocky smile plastered onto his face. "Then you’ve been here too long" ( 147). There are also kids, some of whom are from different schools, who are not so popular that Paul feels comfortable around because he feels better than them. He feels more confident than them, therefore more cool and easy going. This is shown the time when the Tangerine War Eagles have a game at St. Anthony’s. The kids on the other team are small, meek, and afraid. Paul knows that they can beat St. Anthony. Paul was used to being like the frightened little kids on the St. Anthony team, but now that he was on the War Eagles, he isn’t any more.

Although not specifically, an issue of racism is brought up in the story. Hispanic people in this story, for example Tino, Theresa, Tio Carlos, and Luis Cruz, and Gino are depicted as tough, big, not as as mentally advanced as some. These are the "cool" at Tangerine Middle. This is most definitely a stereotype. Bloor does not seem to truly believe these stereotypes, but tries to show them through his use of them in the story.