Tortilla Curtain

Topics: United States, Immigration to the United States / Pages: 13 (3071 words) / Published: Mar 29th, 2013
The “Other”; in The Tortilla Curtain
Since its very beginnings, the United States of America has been idealized as ‘the land of the free,’ full of new opportunities for people from all around the globe. In The Tortilla Curtain, written by T. Coraghessan Boyle the reader gets an up close view of the border between Americans and Mexican immigrants. Boyle uses satire to confront many trends in modern America today about immigration and separation of class. These problems are highlighted through the books four main characters, Delany and Kyra Mossbacher; rich, well-to-do, upper middle class are paralleled to Cadido and America Rincon; social outcasts, Mexican immigrants living in poverty. Boyle juxtaposes these two couples to address social ills in the modern America of today and open the eyes of his readers to understand how close their contact is, yet the contrasting lives both live. Even though our country was created by immigrants, as a people, our laws often reject newcomers. With newcomers from another area Americans can become uncomfortable. The “white” race often feels threatened by the “other” unable to define it as friend or enemy. The “other” is unknown and represents danger and lack of control. If one is not fully aware of the “other” and its customs, they have no control over them. From Toni Morrison’s essay Playing In The Dark she writes, “Power- control over one’s destiny- would replace the powerlessness felt before the gates of class, caste and cunning persecution.”(1794). Here she is making an insight to the relief felt by immigrants who come to the United States from the Old World, yet it is still a valid point for today’s immigrant. Many come to the United States as destitute, looking for some kind of opportunity, for a way to accomplish their goals. Another important quote from Morrison states, “To all of these people, the attraction was of the “clean slate” variety, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to be born again, but



Cited: * Freese, P. (2000). T. Coraghessan Boyle’s the tortilla curtain: A case study in the genesis of xenophobia., 221-243. http://search.proquest.com/docview/742248358?accountid=9840 * Hicks, H. J. (2003). On whiteness in T. Coraghessan Boyles the tortilla curtain. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 45(1), 43-64. doi:10.1080/00111610309595326 * Boyle, T. Coraghessan, (1995) The Tortilla Curtain, Penguin Books * Morrison, Toni (2007) Richter, Bedford/St. Martin’s Playing In the Dark (1791-1801) * Anzaldua, Gloria (2007) Richter, , Bedford/St. Martin’s, La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards A New Conciousness (1850-1858)

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