Racism in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle Essay

Racism in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle Essay

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Is wanting a better life a crime? Does everyone not deserve the right for a better life and to be considered a human being despite the means that they used to try and get it? In this novel The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C.Boyle he brings up the theme of racism that is constant towards those who are struggling for a better life even if it’s through illegal means. He shows this by using main character Delaney Mossbacher a Caucasian self-proclaimed liberal humanist, Candido Rincon a Mexican illegal immigrant and their families (Boyle 3). Boyle starts the novel off with Delaney running someone over and first worrying about the car before thinking of this stranger who could be dead. There’s also other characters that see illegal immigrants as less than human and the young Americans who grew up surrounded by those in power telling them of their opinions on illegal immigrants and then finding it okay to harass them and disrespect ethnic women and lower income areas since its different then what they are used to. Boyel is trying to portray how racism is a prevalent theme throughout his book, how toxic it is to be racist, and how it keeps a person blind to the truth.
Starting off with chapter one we are immediately thrown into a situation that deals with the main character Delaney’s growing racism. He hits a human shaped object and “to his shame, Delaney’s first thought was for the car (was it marred, scratched, dented?), and then for his insurance rates (what was this going to do to his good-driver discount?), and finally, belatedly for the victim” (Boyle 4). Once he encountered the victim ends up only offering the broken and bleeding Mexican man only 20 dollars for his troubles as to not have to report hitting him in the first place since...


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...ns and then lashing out at them even with evidence that they didn’t do something or lack of evidence. Like when it came to the two men suspected of starting the fire but it ended up not being them. Still everyone in that community felt no remorse for wrongfully accusing them and in a similar parallel don’t have as much animosity to their house arrested neighbor who finally found the time to escape in the caos of the fire despite it being illegal. These people where so full of hatred that they chose to forget that these people who they hated so greatly unlike an animal where human beings just like them. With the ending and Candido helping Delaney to safety it’s easier to realize that they both deserve to live for the same reasons and they should be treated the same.



Work Cited
Boyle, T. Coraghessan. The Tortilla Curtain. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Penguin, 1996. Print.

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