How does Paul characterize his family in Tangerine? 

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Paul uses ironic figurative language to show his family’s unwillingness to see the truth about its dark secret: Erik, star football player and the oldest Fisher brother, is a completely immoral person who hurts other for his own pleasure.

Erik describes his family as “blind”, an ironic adjective since Paul, in fact, is the only family member with actual vision problems. He means “blind” however, not in a literal sense, but in a figurative sense. Paul’s family doesn’t want to see “what’s right before their eyes”-they willfully ignore the truth about Erik, even though Erik taunts and hurts Paul and Paul’s friends right in front of their eyes. They’re bystanders-just like kids who see bullying, but when the teacher asks them about it, aren’t courageous enough to report it and save the victim.

To talk about individual members, Paul characterizes his mom and dad very differently. His dad is “caught up in the Erik Fisher Football Dream” and maniacally chases his goal of a pro football career for Erik. Paul’s mom is a perfectionist who doesn’t even want her house movers to find a McDonalds wrapper, lest they think that Paul’s family isn’t perfectly healthy. In regards to Erik, Paul often characterizes him as a predator.

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