Tortilla Curtain Social Commentary

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In Delany’s article "Pilgrim at Topanga Creek”, Boyle makes a social commentary about possible causes and solutions for the immigration problem through further development of coyotes as a symbol for immigrants. This is my favorite example because it ties so many different aspects of the novel together with the metaphor.

On the surface, Delany describes coyotes in his article as “our cleverest and most resourceful large predator” (p.211). He claims that they are able to take advantage of the resources that we unwittingly provide. The article includes a story to prove how cunning coyotes are by describing how they tapped into some irrigation pipes to create their own water supply. While he doesn’t seem to know exactly how to solve the problem, as most measures have lasted only a short while before failing, it is obvious that Delany is afraid of coyotes because they represent a threat to his ideally regimented lifestyle. He leaves his readers with a final warning about the dangers of coyotes and calls for residents to heed his warnings and “leave no food source, however negligible, where he can access it” (p.214).

In a similar sense, most of the article can be evaluated within the context of coyotes symbolizing immigrants. As Boyle shows through the lives of the Rincóns, the Mexican immigrants surrounding them were able to use the resources of the neighborhood to deliver their baby and construct a temporary shack for example. Furthermore, as Delany talks about failed attempts to protect themselves from the coyotes, like the first and second chain link fences erected around their yard, Boyle is making a commentary about the wall within the novel meant to keep out immigrants and, in a broader sense, about failed immigration policies. Within Delany’s life, the wall failed to keep Cándido out of his neighborhood just like both fences failed to keep out coyotes. Both were able to scale their obstacle with relative ease to accomplish their goals of acquiring...
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