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Racism in "The Tortilla Curtain". Racism in the Tortilla Curtain

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Cesar Martinez Wilson English A 25 October 2009 Racism in the Tortilla Curtain Racism has always been a major issue in the United States, whether it is racism towards the homo sexual, Jewish, or the illegal immigrant racism will always be part of the United States. In the novel The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C Boyle he writes about a man named Delaney Mossabacher. Delaney is a self proclaimed liberal humanist. In the novel Boyle puts Delaney in many situations that make you question his liberal humanist views. While on his way to a recycling center his life is changed forever when he runs over a man named Candido Rincon. Delaney insists on giving him $20 instead of taking him to the hospital. This action makes you question whether he is truly a humanist. Delaney then realizes that Candido is an illegal immigrant living in Topanga creek where he often goes for hikes. When Delaney goes to get his car repaired at the dealership he tells the man he hit a dog instead of telling him he hit a person. This is where he begins to see Mexicans as not being human because they don't live like everyone else. The most controversial part of the novel is when Delaney is arguing with jack at the grocery store. His actions make you question everything he believes in. The final part of the story where everyone is looking at the fire you can clearly tell he has lost every ounce of liberal humanist and is now a full fledge racist. ...read more.


When Grissom asks him what he hit Delaney replies with "a dog, I think it was" (13). Although Delaney could have told him the truth that he accidently hit someone, he decides to lie and instead says he hit a dog. This is important because it shows how little Delaney cares about what he did. Although Delaney is a self proclaimed humanist he is contradicting himself by lying and saying he hit a dog. Furthermore Delaney saying he hit a dog is symbolic because it shows the racist feelings he has toward Candido. He feels that Candido is like a dog that relays on society to take care of him. This is when Delaney's true feelings towards Mexicans begin to show because he doesn't see them as regular people but as dogs ready to take advantage of people whenever they get an opportunity. Another clear instance of Delaney losing his liberal humanist views is in the middle of chapter seven part two. Delaney is arguing with Jack Jardine about the fence that is going to be put up around Arroyo Blanco. Jack is trying to convince Delaney that the wall is necessary but Delaney is adamantly against it. Delaney feels that it is wrong to put up the fence up just to keep illegal immigrants out. He says "Immigrants are the lifeblood of this country we're a nation of immigrants and neither of us would be standing here today if it wasn't" (101). ...read more.


This incident put Delaney in the "us versus them" racist mindset and he gets everyone to yell racist remarks at Jose. At this point Delaney really hates Mexicans because their actions put everything he owns in jeopardy. By the end of the novel Delaney is clearly transformed from a liberal humanist to a racist because of the situations he is faced with. Whether it be things he says, like saying he hit a dog instead of an actual persons. He also contradicted himself by defending illegal immigrants at the grocery store calling them the lifeblood of the country, then turning around and wishing harm on someone just because they are illegal immigrants. His actions also clearly depicted him as a racist by the despicable actions he took on Jose Navidad toward the end of the novel by blaming him for the fire without knowing who actually started it. It is apparent Boyle put him in these situations to make us question his liberal humanist view. Although Delaney is self proclaimed liberal humanist he like many other people was negatively affected by racism. If Delenay was truly the humanist he claimed to be he would not have had so much hate toward Candido, but when his family is affected by immigrants it forces him to have very negative feelings toward immigrants. So while Delaney would have liked to believe he was a liberal humanist, he like many other ethnic groups was adversely affected by racism. ?? ?? ?? ?? Martinez 1 ...read more.

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