What was Paul and Victor's relationship like in Tangerine?

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

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Paul develops a bond with Victor on the team, and Victor tells him they are brothers.

Victor is one of the cool kids, and Paul is on the outside looking in.  As Theresa says, Victor is the important one, as the captain of the team.

“Oh, yeah.  Victor, he’s kinda the star.  Victor and Maya, they’re the two stars, you know?  They score the most goals.  Tino scored two goals last year.  I think Victor scored sixteen, and Maya scored fifteen….” (Monday, September 18, p. 98)

When Paul first meets Victor, he gives him a hard time about being on the team.  Theresa introduces Paul.  Paul is a new kid.  He does not have much self-esteem, because of the “special needs” with the problems with his eyes.  His own family does not expect much from him, and his brother is the star of his own family.  Victor seems to scoff at him right away.

“You think you can play on my team? What do you think this is, Lake Windsor Middle School?  You think we take every chump who shows up?” (Tuesday, September 19, p. 104)

Despite giving Paul a hard time, Victor allows him to stay.  He is a backup goalie—to a girl, which surprises him (there are four girls on the team).  Victor is completely focused on winning.  That is what matters most to him, and it doesn’t matter to him how.  Soccer is war.  He has no tolerance for mistakes (“If we lose this game, you’re dead!” p. 119), but respects results.

When Victor apologizes for shouting at him and tells him that they are brothers, Paul finally experiences real camaraderie.  He realizes that Victor means what he says when he says that no one will mess with him and, that the team will support him.  Since he is not used to support from his family, this is a new experience for him.  For the first time, he feels a sense of accomplishment and belonging.

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