In Edward Bloor's novel Tangerine, why was Mr. Fisher deleting some colleges from Erik's "Scholarship offers"?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Edward Bloor's young reader's novel Tangerine, Erik's scholarship file definitely appears as a frequent recurring motif. The protagonist's older brother Erik is a high school football hero who has been offered scholarships from many universities. Throughout the novel, the protagonist's father carefully and lovingly prepares a file on his IBM computer labeled, "Erik--Scholarship Offers." The protagonist, Paul, notes that the file was meticulously created, made of boxes depicting "light green football fields" and listing each university's game statistics (p. 159). As the novel progresses, Paul notes changes made to the file, such as additions of names and phone numbers. The file itself becomes a symbol of the pride the family feels for Erik.

However, as the novel progresses, Paul also makes discoveries about Erik. In particular, Erik has a violent temper and becomes guilty of punching a man, which leads to an aneurysm and the man's death within days. Paul also soon realizes that it is because Erik and his friend sprayed paint in Paul's eyes that he is blind, not because he stared into an eclipse as he previously believed. As Erik's true, troubled nature becomes more and more apparent, their parents realize that Erik needs professional help. It's at that point when their father starts deleting Erik's scholarship offers. It's absolutely not possible for Erik to accept a university scholarship or have a football career when he has psychological issues that need to be addressed.

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