Why was Paul impressed with Mike Costello in Tangerine?  

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Paul is impressed with Mike Costello because Mike Costello stands up to Erik. Most people, including Erik's parents and coaches, are so wowed by Erik's football skill that they let him walk all over them. (See Arthur Bauer, who's excited to do Erik's dirty work.) When Mike and Erik first...

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Paul is impressed with Mike Costello because Mike Costello stands up to Erik. Most people, including Erik's parents and coaches, are so wowed by Erik's football skill that they let him walk all over them. (See Arthur Bauer, who's excited to do Erik's dirty work.) When Mike and Erik first meet, Erik tries to talk down to Mike, but Mike won't have it. 

Paul also likes how Mike has a life outside of football. Mike's not a football star like Erik, but that doesn't matter. He has an engineering scholarship, which means that his future is bright. 

The reader infers that Mike is the type of big brother that Paul would love to have. He's kind and successful, yet not in a way that makes others feel bad about themselves. This goodness makes it doubly sad when Mike dies. 

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