Paul’s opinion of Florida’s landscape changes as he and his mom drive closer to Tangerine. At first, Paul passes “miles and miles of green fields overflowing with tomatoes and onions and watermelons.” The landscape is so lush and beautiful that Paul wants to jump out the car and run through the beautiful fields.
As Paul and his mom get closer to Tangerine County, they see perfectly symmetrical tangerine fields that look like “squares in a million square grid.”
Eventually, once they get extremely close to their new home, the landscape changes to manicured lawns and expensive yet soulless housing developments. The wild beauty of the farmers’ fields yields to perfect but boring suburbs.
This change foreshadows one of the novel’s main themes, the difference between the “old” Florida and the “new” Florida. The old Florida has natural beauty; the new Florida has fancy developments. Paul is part of the new Florida, but desperately wants to connect with the old Florida. He feels more at home in nature than in his brand-new house.