We all have our own meaning to the phrase, “The American Dream. ” Many people long for a lavish lifestyle, with foreign cars and a vacation home; while others will simply settle for the comfort of having a roof over their head and a family car. After all, we are in the land of opportunity where many live or immigrate to, to make their dreams come true. James Truslow Adams (1931) was the first to define the American Dream. Adams defined it as a life that should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with an opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of their social class or ircumstances of birth.
In the book, The Tortilla Curtain, the author T. C Boyle knew he would have an audience on either side of the social spectrum that would relate to either Candido or to Delaney on their. Following, I will show some aspects of how the author did exactly that To begin, Boyle was extremely explicit with the difficult life Candido and America lived throughout the entire novel as immigrants trying to create a better life in the United States. I think Boyle wanted his audience to see that, for immigrants, it’s not easy to come to a new country. In fact, it is the total opposite so cut them some lack.
Growing up in a working-class community with parents who immigrated to the United States to have a better life, I was able to strongly connect with Candido and his wife America. Boyle was able to vividly describe a few of the obstacles many immigrant Mexicans are forced to endure in their daily lives while chasing their interpretation of the “American Dream. ” Whether it is living with fear of being caught by La Migra, dealing with stereotypical people like the citizens of Arroyo Blanco, and simply living with the worry of being able to keep food on their family’s table.
He didn’t need a million dollars-he wasn’t born for that, and if he was he would have won the lottery. No, allI he needed was work, steady work, and this was the beginning. ” (Boyle 166-67) All Candido wished for was a steady job, that itself would bring him happiness. Secondly, Boyle used irony to emphasize the differences between the Rincon’s and the Mossbacher’s struggles throughout the novel. What Delaney and his wife owned, such as possessions, America and Candido needed. What America and Candido had, which is happiness, Kyra and Delaney needed.
Delaney’s carelessness was ortrayed as soon as the novel began “Delaney’s first thought was for the car (was it marred, scratched, dented? ), and then for his insurance rates (what was this going to do to his good-driver discount? ), and finally, belatedly, for the victim. ” (Boyle 4) He showed more compassion for his possessions than for the life of a human being. He then paid Candido off with merely twenty dollars and called it a truce. Delaney’s wife Kyra, a real estate agent, had the Da Ros property to sell; the home was immaculate, huge, and elegant and also stood at the very top of he canyon.
Kyra refused to take the listing because it was her dream home, she couldn’t see anyone in it but herself even though she knew it was far from what suited her family. They always sought for more despite the luxuries they surrounded themselves with in commoditized community of Arroyo Blanco, and it was as if they wouldn’t be happy unless they had more. From our perspective, Delaney and Kyra had it all, they had everything Candido and America wished to have a quarter of.
It was a private community, comprising a golf course, ten tennis ourts, a community center and some two hundred and fifty homes, each set on one-point-five acres and strictly conforming to the covenants, conditions and restrictions set forth in the 1973 articles of incorporation. ” (Boyle 30) Despite the amazing commodities the Mossbacher’s had available to them in Arroyo Blanco, they were not content they wanted more. On the other hand, Candido and America didn’t have a home, a job, or money for food.
They lived day by day and were grateful to simply be able to wake up every morning. “They’d been living in the canyon for three weeks now… d though they didn’t have a roof over their heads and nothing was settled, he’d felt happy for the first time since they’d left home. The water was still flowing, the sand was clean, and the sky overhead was his, all his. “(Boyle 26) Boyle also shows us the importance of putting our pride aside and always doing what is right. Growing up, we have all encountered the statement “protect your own. ” The meaning itself holds a strong significance to some more than others. Boyle gives us a strong illustration of one of the many situations when the characters in the book did just that, rotected their own.
It was Jack Jr. Jack Jr. and an accomplice Delaney did not recognize, and there they were, replicated six times on a sheet of contact paper, brought to life, caught in the act. It was as complete as surprise as Delaney had ever had, and it almost stopped him. Almost. He pushed himself up from the counter and in a slow methodical way he cleaned up, draining the trays rinsing them and setting them back on the shelf where Jack kept them. Then he dropped the negatives on the contact sheet and balled the whole thing up in a wad and buried it deep n the trash. (Boyle 346)
Although clear evidence showed Jack Jr. damaging the property, Delaney destroyed the evidence. It was an instinct for Delaney to act as if he never knew. Instead of confronting the truth, many of us too often find ourselves lying to ourselves to remain comfortable. We were told to stick with each other, but were also taught to do was right. We are quick to point fingers when a stranger is wrong, but when it is one of our own we are suddenly blindsided. It is as if we are all stuck in some sort of cult instead of simply being a part of the same ulture.
The novel comes to its conclusion when Candido and America are searching for their blind daughter amidst the mudslide, but instead find a white hand: the hand of the man who ran Candido over, portrays them as the enemy, who tried to kill them. But unexpectedly, Candido simply reaches out and grabs Delaney’s hand and pulls him out of the mudslide. Boyle caught us by surprise by doing the total opposite of what we thought was going to happen, he did what was right, despite the ongoing issues throughout the novel between the characters, Candido ut his pride and differences aside and saved Delaney’s life.
The misunderstanding between the two main characters, Candido and Delaney, played an amazing part in depicting the unnecessary curtain that actually stands between social classes in real life to this day. Being part of this country, the country held together by immigrants, means we are all apart of each other’s lives whether we would like to or not. But instead of trying to understand one another we try to belittle one another, when in the end we are all searching for the same thing, peace and happiness.