April 15, 2008
The Compare and Contrast of Candido and Delaney
Although Delaney Mossbacher and Candido Rincon, two major and opposing characters in T.C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain, both reside in Southern California’s Topanga Canyon, the worlds in which they live are from similar. Like opposite sides of the same coin, Delaney and Candido are living opposite lives on opposite sides of the same wall.
Delaney, the liberal, environmentalist first meets Candido, the illegal, Mexican immigrant when their worlds literally crash into each other. While driving his custom, foreign car to the recycling center, Delaney hits Candido who is crossing the street when returning from the market. Initially, Delaney is concerned about his car and then insurance rates and then lastly, for the man who was struck by his car. Candido, who is severely injured from the accident, but afraid to seek medical help due to not wanting to be found by la migra, is in pain and confused as Delaney attempts to communicate with him in English and then French. When it was apparent that neither were able to understand the other, Delaney offered Candido twenty dollars as some sort of apology, penance or maybe even bribe. It was at this point that their two lives began to parallel each other in opposite ways.
While Delaney and Candido both reside in Topanga Canyon, they each return to very different homes. Delaney returns to his expensive home in the secluded and exclusive “Arroyo Blanco” estates. Candido, however, returns to his home which Delaney has no idea even exists only a few hundred feet from his own backyard. Candido, in fact, does not return to a home at all, but rather to his makeshift camp in the valley below “Arroyo Blanco.”
Both characters have families who have one thing in common, the American dream. Candido and his pregnant wife illegally came into the United States with the hope of not only chasing, but living the American dream. On the other hand, Delaney, along...
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