by Edward Bloor

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How do Mr. Fisher and Mrs. Fisher differ in Tangerine?

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Mr. Fisher has some dissimilarities in character to Mrs. Fisher. However, the most glaring dissimilarity concerns their focus on Erik, their oldest child.

While both support Erik's success in football, Mr. Fisher focuses on it to the point of obsession. For most of the story, Mr. Fisher views Erik's success in the game as inevitable. Unlike Mr. Fisher, Mrs. Fisher does question this one-sided picture of Erik's future. In fact, it is Mrs. Fisher who asks the intriguing question, "What if Erik has no future in football?"

Mrs. Fisher's question actually foreshadows Erik's eventual disgrace and downfall at the end of the story.

Another dissimilarity between Mr. Fisher and Mrs. Fisher concerns their treatment of Paul, Erik's younger brother. Although both love Paul in their own ways, Mr. Fisher is completely dismissive of Paul. His focus is entirely on Erik and what Paul calls the "Erik Fisher Football Dream." Meanwhile, although Mrs. Fisher is distracted by her work on the Architectural committee, she does show a modicum of interest in Paul.

At the end of the novel, it is Mrs. Fisher who exposes Erik's part in the theft of valuables from some homes in the housing development. In her testimony before the homeowners, she admits finding evidence incriminating Erik in their family storage bins. As for Mr. Fisher, he tries to manipulate the homeowners into not pressing charges against Erik. Up to this point, Mr. Fisher is so invested in the "Erik Fisher Football Dream" that he is willing to do anything to protect Erik from prosecution for his terrible actions.

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Mr. and Mrs. Fisher are very similar in that they don't appear to care all that much about Paul. Mrs. Fisher is too busy keeping up appearances or getting involved with neighborhood business to devote much time to her youngest son. As for Mr. Fisher, he's too fixated on living out his dreams of high school football stardom through Erik to pay much attention to Paul and his needs.

So, both Mr. and Mrs. Fisher neglect Paul, albeit for different reasons. Mrs. Fisher has a strong sense of civic responsibility and spends much of her time on various local committees. As for Mr. Fisher, his whole life is devoted to his blue-eyed boy Erik, a boy who can do no wrong in his eyes. Essentially, Paul gets caught up in the middle, his life overshadowed by the competing demands of the local community and his older brother's football career.

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