Tangerine is a metaphor for Paul's life. What had been good and thriving was bulldozed by greedy developers and built upon by crooked politicians. Paul's life was a normal one until he turned five. Then, some mysterious incident robbed him of normal sight. The termite ridden ground resulting from the houses being built on top of rotting tangerine trees was like the family atmosphere in the Fisher household. Something was wrong and really rotten in the family, but there was no acknowledgement of its existence. The muck fires smoldering underground was the fear and anger Paul felt toward his older brother Erik. The sinkhole was his collapsing soccer career at Lake Windsor Middle when he was removed from the team for his visual impairment.