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Tortilla_Curtain_and_Its_Contexts_Lectur - Tortilla Curtain...

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Tortilla Curtain and Its Contexts Lynn O. Scott 10/9/06 Good morning. I hope you're enjoying reading Tortilla Curtain . In this first lecture on the novel I want to provide you with some broader contexts for understanding and interpreting it. As I lecture, I will suggest some issues and questions to think about in your recitation sections. [Overhead-- Where I'm going: general topics of the lecture] --2 Background on the author. Immediate context: California Proposition 187 A “novel” approach to public policy Myths of national identity and the literature of immigration Today, I want to begin by giving you some background on the author, T. Coraghessan Boyle (T.C. Boyle). Then, briefly describe the context within which the novel was written. After this I want to look at the discourse of literature more broadly-- since I think it is somewhat unusual for a novel to be included in a 201 course. What can imaginative literature contribute to a discussion of public policy? How might a novel effect the way we understand an issue or how we see ourselves in relationship to our society and the political questions of the day? To answer these questions, I want to go back to a couple of important observations that Azar Nafisi made in Reading Lolita in Tehran . Then, I want to place Tortilla Curtain in relationship to American myths of national identity and immigration.
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Ok. Let's start with the author. T.C. Boyle is one of the more flamboyant of our contemporary American novelists. He is flamboyant both in terms of personal style and in the humorous, ironic excesses of much of his fiction. As he approaches 60-- he still presents himself (at least for publicity) as a latter day hippie with scruffy beard, a metal clip in his ear and voodoo bracelets on his wrist. Here are some pictures of him from the photo gallery on his web site at www.tcboyle.com . [Have Tom show them] Boyle is not one of those writers like J.D. Salinger who created a myth of himself by shunning the public. Boyle has told his interviewers that he yearns to be famous, he wants to outsell Stephen King and “have about four or five times the audience Michael Jackson has for his records-- and out dance him publicly” (Charles May in Magill's Survey of American Literature ) He is, as one critic says, “the self-styled wild man of American letters” (Bill Marx). Yet, his doomsday stare and his wild man persona notwithstanding, Boyle seems to live a surprisingly conventional life. He teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California, a job he's had for over a quarter of a century. He's still married to the girl he met in college, and the father of three children. He writes everyday, seven days a week and is an extremely prolific author. He's just published his 11 th novel-- titled Talk Talk -- about identity theft, and he has also published eight volumes of short stories. T.C. Boyle was born Thomas John Boyle in 1948.
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  • Fall '08
  • LynnScott
  • Immigration to the United States, Riven Rock, Thomas Pynchon, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Illegal immigration to the United States, Tortilla Curtain

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Tortilla_Curtain_and_Its_Contexts_Lectur - Tortilla Curtain...

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