Final Paper

Final Paper - Roach -1- The Paradox of the American Dream...

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Roach -1- The Paradox of the American Dream Alea Roach A05760824 12.9.2005
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Roach -2- Throughout its history, the economy, lifestyle, and foundation of the United States have been based on immigration, despite the pattern of constant and strong feelings of hostility toward the newest group of immigrants. Recently, this hostility toward immigration has been focused on immigrants from Mexico in the southern regions of the United States. In his novel “The Tortilla Curtain,” T.C. Boyle criticizes American society using the contradiction of American ideals and the reality of immigrating to America as illustrated by Dulaney and Kyra, and Candido and America. Also, Boyle uses the interdependency of Mexican immigrants and the United States economy, as well as the mutual hostility of Mexican immigrants and United States citizens to disclose the contradictions and inconsistencies in the current American capitalistic system, and suggest, through the example of Candido and the opposite example of Delaney, that positive changes can and must be made, but can only be made through realizations and concessions made by both parties. In the first chapter of his book “The Tortilla Curtain,” Boyle introduces a key theme throughout the book, a theme that is revealed through the loss of Kyra’s dog to a coyote, as well as Delaney’s personal revelation about the presence of Mexican immigrants and their effects on society. Boyle uses this theme, that is, the theme of the naiveté of society about the Mexican immigrants, their situation, and their effect on society in order to criticize the society as a whole and their indifference toward Mexican immigrants. Throughout the description of the morning in Delaney’s house in chapter three, both Delaney and Kyra notice the dogs barking unusually outside, but both think nothing of this. When Kyra asks Delaney about the dogs’ barking, Delaney replies “‘I don’t know’… ‘They’ve been yapping since I let them out’” (Boyle 36). The dogs’ unusual barking goes unnoticed until Sacheverell, one of Kyra’s dogs, is attacked by a coyote. Boyle describes Delaney and the situation as such “His brain decoded the image: a
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Roach -3- coyote had somehow managed to get into the enclosure and seize one of the dogs, and there it was, wild nature, up and over the fence…” Although the dogs had been barking all morning, Delaney and his wife thought little of this, and didn’t even take the time to go out and investigate the situation, which ultimately could have prevented the death of the dog. Instead, it takes the killing of Kyra’s dog for Delaney to become proactive in his tirade against people putting food out for the coyotes. Similar to the situation in which Sachaverell is killed by a coyote is Delaney’s response and revelation after hitting Candido with his car. Boyle writes “…men, he saw with a shock of recognition, who were exactly like the jack-in-the-box on the canyon road, right down to the twin pits of their eyes and the harsh black strokes of their mustaches. They
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Final Paper - Roach -1- The Paradox of the American Dream...

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