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
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).
dogs’ unusual barking goes unnoticed until Sacheverell, one of Kyra’s dogs, is attacked by a
Boyle describes Delaney and the situation as such “His brain decoded the image: a