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tortilla curtain


            The title of this novel, The Tortilla Curtain, by T. Boyle, raises questions about borders, specifically the metaphorical or real walls separating Mexico from the U.S. The Tortilla Curtain, in both real life and this novel, represents an established but vulnerable border, which the lines are crossed. It is a story which uses much more symbolism than true reality.
             The book is about a developed neighborhood called Topanga Canyon. This little neighborhood is full of wealthy white liberal Californians who know what is going on in every home on the block, and who looks down on the desperately poor illegal Mexican immigrants who want to come in. Symbolism is found throughout nearly the entire book, it all starts when the talk of fences comes up. Delaney and his wife build a fence to keep the outside out, and when it doesn't work, they just add on to it. Soon after, their neighborhood wants a fence to keep people out, creating boundaries not only for the outside, but a shelter for the inside. .
             Delaney builds a fence to keep the coyotes out-he claimed, which could be taken symbolically as any foreign intruder (or in this book, Mexicans). Yet it is very ironic that the people who actually build his fence are the Mexicans, in which he is trying to keep out. Not only Mexicans, but the Mexican that Delaney hit with his car who was Candido. .
             The title of this book is talking about a boundary, but more of a boundary that is private and a boundary that is hiding something on the other side of it. This curtain is suggesting the border between Mexico and the United States, which because you can cross this border, is similar to a curtain because it hides what is on either side from each other. .
             In the end, it took me a while to get a true grasp of the main message of this book and what this book is about. I noticed that this book lacked an outcome and a solution in the end. I wondered if Boyle chose to do the ending the way he did for the sake of weirdness, or it was some kind of extended metaphor.


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