The Time/Space Warp

One of the most fascinating parts of the novel “Tropic of Orange” is the continuing warp that occurs in time and space, all because of an orange. The character who experiences this time warping the most is Rafaela, who of all the characters, is the most in-tune to the changes that are occurring. This is in part because of how connected Rafaela is to the natural world; all the chapter titles for her have to do with the movements of the day, cementing her connection with the earth. However the most interesting connection for me is how close Rafaela, especially in this chapter, is to the sun, both in her son Sol and the literal star. I believe that Rafael’s relationship to both Sol and the sun makes her even more connected to the space/time warp.


Throughout the novel time and space become distorted as one orange moves the tropic of cancer, thus disrupting the normal curve that space and time create. Walls shift, time seems to lag, and distances that seemed small become great. Rafaela see’s “Sol…wandering as if in some timeless space, at every moment farther and farther…[for] everything there seemed to be an eerie liquid elasticity. How far must she race? How far must she reach to touch her Sol”. This scene immediately struck me as having multiple meanings. In spanish, the word “sol” translates to sun, and one could push that Rafaela is reaching out towards the sun, trying to grasp onto something tangible that might be able to anchor the world again. You could also argue that perhaps she’s reaching out for her “soul”, as the two sound very similar. Or you can say that she’s really just trying to get to her son before anything happens to him. I think Rafaela’s chapter shows something interesting about what this warp is doing to the characters; its throwing them off-center, making them question and stumble into the unknown. Rafaela deals with the threat of illegal organ donation, the city of LA is rocked by disastrous accidents, and Buzzworm is plagued by people around him dying of apparent overdoses. The space/time warp is the most apparent in Rafaela’s chapter, but it reaches into the lives of everyone in the story. And isn’t it interesting how similar an orange can look to the sun?

One Response to The Time/Space Warp

  1. Prof VZ March 13, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    We didn’t talk much about Sol, who is increasingly identified with the orange. I loved that scene where he is seen sort of dancing around the tropic of cancer stretched across the property, a preview of the way in which things will soon be knocked off their center. I think Sol is also interesting as he embodies a sort of innocence alongside Arcangel’s over-arching experience (he’s been alive for 500 years). This creates a very interesting tension.

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