How did Paul lose his sight and how did the Fishers deal with the situation in Tangerine?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Paul lost his eyesight when his brother and a friend sprayed paint into his eyes.

Paul was always told that he looked into an eclipse when he was little and that was how he lost his much of his sight.  This is kind of a cruel thing to tell him, because it puts the blame on Paul, and not his delinquent brother.  The real story is that his brother held him down while his friend Vincent sprayed paint into his eyes out of revenge, claiming that Paul got him into trouble.

And I remembered Erik’s fingers prying my eyes open while Vincent Castor sprayed white paint into them.  They left me screaming and rolling around on the floor of the garage. (Friday, December 1)   

When Paul begins to remember, he confronts his mother and father about this incident, and the lie that they told to cover it up.  He is especially annoyed at the implication that he would be an idiot and blind himself by staring into a solar eclipse, even at such a young age.  It is a pain he has carried with him for a long time.

Dad was looking down at the yellow legal pad when he said, “You were five years old, Paul.  There was only so much you could understand.  All you could understand was that something bad had happened.” (Friday, December 1)   

Paul asks them if they knew that Erik did it, and they said they did.  They told him the story to keep him “from always hating” his brother, because he might never remember.  They were just relieved he wasn’t blind, and wanted to move on from the incident. 

Realizing what really happened to him is a cathartic experience for Paul.  He feels better knowing the truth.  He says he is finally “more than all right” because he can move on now that he has remembered. 

Bullying is a serious problem, even among siblings.  Sometimes an incident that people think is harmless or will not affect a child for a long time does have serious consequences for years.  No incident is minor when it comes to bullying.

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