INTRODUCTION In this explosive and timely novel, T
In Southern California's Topanga Canyon, two couples live in close proximity and yet are worlds apart. High atop a hill overlooking the canyon, nature writer Delaney Mossbacher and his wife, real estate agent Kyra Menaker-Mossbacher, reside in an exclusive, secluded housing development with their son, Jordan. The Mossbachers are agnostic liberals with a passion for recycling and fitness. Camped out in a ravine at the bottom of the canyon are Cándido and América Rincón, a Mexican couple who have crossed the border illegally. On the edge of starvation, they search desperately for work in the hope of moving into an apartment before their baby is born. They cling to their vision of the American dream, which, no matter how hard they try to achieve it, manages to elude their grasp at every turn.
T.C. Boyle: Tortilla Curtain | En2kn's Blog
Arizona's recent passing of the toughest known immigration bill in the United States has brought even more attention to an already heated issue. The promise of the American dream has been drawing immigrants to the U.S. for centuries, but as the requirements for citizenship and legal status have grown more stringent, the incidence of illegal immigration, especially across the U.S.-Mexico border, has dramatically increased. As of January 1, 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that approximately 10.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States. Of these, more than 50% were thought to be from Mexico. Furthermore, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the Tuscon sector of the U.S. Border Patrol (the sector managing Arizona's portion of the Mexican border) has made an average of 650 arrests per day in the 2010 year, proof that this issue is only growing and that Arizona's stringent law is only the beginning.
Q. The search for the American dream is a theme that resounds throughout The Tortilla Curtain. Do you think there is such a thing as the American dream?
Summary | Welcome to the Border
A. The title comes from a common phrase for the Mexican border, The Tortilla Curtain, and I envision it in this way. We have the Iron Curtain, which as an image is impenetrable. You picture this wall across Eastern Europe. Then we have the Bamboo Curtain with regard to China. As I see it, that isn't quite as impenetrable as an iron curtain. It shatters easily and has gaps in it. It's not uniform. And now we have The Tortilla Curtain, which is the opposite of impregnable. It's three strips of barbed wire with some limp tortillas hanging on it. The central question of this, and of the images of walls that appear throughout the book—the walls, the gates, walling people out, what do you wall in, all of that—has to do with us as a species and who owns what. Do you really own your own property? Do you have a right to fence people out? Do we have an obligation to assist people who come over that border, that wall, that gate? How is it that Americans are allowed to have this incredible standard of living while others do not? All of these questions, I think, are wrapped up in my view of our debate over immigration.
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The Tortilla Curtain essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle.
The Metaphors in The Celebrated Jumping Frog
A. I'm not presenting any answers, and I think that's why the book was very controversial. People want a polemic. They want to raise their fist in the air and say, "Yes, you're on our side." Well, I'm not on your side. I am presenting a fable, a fiction, so that you can judge for yourself. A lot of people simply read the book and flew off the handle because it either accords with what they want it to or it doesn't. People want things to be very clear-cut. Here's the issue and here's how I stand on it. But I think it's much more complex. I think it has to do with biology. You may notice that Delaney is a nature writer. Well, nature writers are generally very liberal, even radically liberal on all issues except one—the issue of immigration, on which they are more reactionary than anyone. The reason for this is they argue that there are six billion people on the planet now, and who is the enemy of the environment? Who is the enemy of clean air, clean water, all the dwindling animal species? Well, it's us. Us, human beings. Our species. And this is an element of the book which is very important and has been overlooked. There is this population pressure on the world in all the industrial nations, not simply the United States. England, Germany, and France all have huge influxes of immigrants, and I'm wondering, what does this mean and how are people going to deal with it? I think ultimately, as you see in The Tortilla Curtain, it may simply exacerbate racist tendencies.