History Recycled in the Works of T.C. Boyle

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History Recycled in the Works of T.C. Boyle

"Past and present, sharply separated by the chapter structures, are fused in motifs and unstressed parallels" (DeMott 52). History's repeating itself is a dominant theme throughout T.C Boyle's novels. If people do not learn from past mistakes, they are likely to fail again. By revisiting history, Boyle teaches the importance of awareness and caution of an ever-changing society. In The Tortilla Curtain a specific migrant problem in the 1930s is modified to fit modern immigration. Candido and America's battle for survival after immigrating to the United States repeats a similar event depicted in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Boyle's twisted short stories in the If the River was Whiskey mirror events in history in the light of modern times. The similarities between the Van Brunts and the Van Warts in The World's End contribute to identical generations, separated by three hundred years. Boyle attacks modern society's conceited, self-absorbed attitude, and he discourages reiteration of the past.

In the Tortilla Curtain, Boyle recycles a past dilemma, as he writes of a problem similar to the "Dust Bowl" migration of the 1930s. Candido Rincon and his wife America travel from Mexico to America through the "Tortilla Curtain," searching for work, while constantly striving to achieve the American Dream. In this journey, the Rincons encounter several racist obstacles including a pack of white men who beat and rape America during her pregnancy, leaving her to die. Constantly searching for work and money takes Candido mentally and physically away from his wife.

High in the Arroyo Blanco ("white rice") Estates lives the Mossbacher family, which dwells in the...

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