The Gated community in The Tortilla Curtain and The Simpsons | Dirk Vranken - btcmu.info
Fagstoff: Tortilla Curtain. The Cuban-American Relationship . Why doesn't Cándido want América to go to the Labor Exchange? Describe. Dive deep into T. Coraghessan Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain with extended analysis, president of the Arroyo Blanco Estates Property Owners' Association, wants to Boyle presents Cándido and América as noble sufferers but tries to make. The Tortilla Curtain. Candido and his wife, America, are the Okies of the '90s, and Boyle is their Steinbeck. They find California as.
It is a time in which racial tensions culminate in the Los Angeles riots of as well as the passage of Propositiona proposition to curb the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico Coates Throughout different stages, the novel depicts the evolution of Mexican immigration in Araya Blanco, Los Angeles. Just like the episode of The Simpsons, different stages in Mexican immigration are represented.
The two first chapters of this paper discuss how Mexican unemployment combined with suburbanization created the flow of welcomed cheap work forces.
Comparison and Contrast on Class in the Tortilla Curtain
In the following chapter I discuss how the overflow of immigrants became visible to the suburban residents and how they felt that the safety of the gated community became threatened. This fear, which is the topic of the fourth chapter, led to discussions in the gated community which would eventually lead to the construction of walls which will be discussed in the fifth chapter. Each chapter is further illustrated with examples from The Tortilla Curtain and The Simpsons Episode 21 from season Mexican immigration and suburbanization In order to discuss the influence of the Mexican immigrants, let us have a look at the history of the suburban process and at the evolution of the Mexican immigration.
During the period of industrialization in the 19th Century and the first half of the 20 th Century, the markets expanded and there was an increase of production Hirschl The Second World War proved to be the main event to activate the process of gentrification, as the war fired up the economy and put both men and women at work.
Comparison and Contrast on Class in the Tortilla Curtain
After the war, the United States turned into a consumerism republic and the economy continued to grow. The development of shopping malls as well as refrigerators created an opportunity for inhabitants to move out to the suburbs.
The introduction of these shopping malls, in which banks, doctors and other important needs were present, created an opportunity for city inhabitants to flee the criminal cities. People were able to start anew, to create a society in which other people could be left behind. Los Angeles was the first example of suburbanization and became known as the sixty-mile city.
Many residents of these major cities, who worked within the central urban area, chose to move to suburbs and commute to work via automobile, mass transit, or at home Suburbanization. To understand the process of suburbanization, we must look at the various factors which influenced the residents into migrating. On the one hand there are push factors which make residents leave the central cities. This includes the congestion and population density of the cities, the pollution caused by industry and numerous traffic jams.
Families also considered the lower quality of life and the high rates of mortgage loans to be important factors.
Perhaps the most important factors in the mass flight to the suburbs were the improvements in transportation and communication technology. As transportation developed more, people could commute to the nearby town or city to work.
Next to cars, railways and bus routes became equally important to commute to work, as the number and size of highways grew. A decisive factor for businesses to move to the suburbs was the rise of efficient package express delivery systems, such as FedEx and UPS, which took advantage of computer systems and air transportation systems Suburbanization. American immigration history can be viewed in four epochs: Each period brought distinct national groups, races and ethnicities to the United States.
As Mexicans dominated the post epoch, we will focus on this period Immigration to the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behaviour Immigration to the United States.
In a late s study, economists overwhelmingly viewed immigration, including illegal immigration, as a positive for the economy. The NRC report found that although immigrants, especially those from Latin America, caused a net loss in terms of taxes paid versus social 3 services received, immigration can provide an overall gain to the domestic economy due to an increase in pay for higher-skilled workers, lower prices for goods and services produced by immigrant labour, and more efficiency and lower wages for some owners of capital.
Immigration to the United States When one considers that the majority of Americans now live in the suburbs, it should come as no surprise that the battle over immigration is being waged not in the city but in the nation's suburbs. The census data indicates that immigrants are now bypassing the central cities and moving directly to the suburbs; more than half of the nation's Latino immigrants now live in the suburbs, having followed the jobs created by the suburban population explosion of the last thirty years, filling low-paying service jobs in lawn care, housecleaning, child and elderly care.
In other words, the notion of the suburbs as belonging exclusively to the white middle class no longer applies. Where had they all come from? What did they all want? Of course, the reader, if not Delaney himself, recognizes that he has answered his own question: The novel depicts how four characters, two on both sides of the border, deal with immigration.
On the one hand, Boyle describes the lives of Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, who moved to the gated community on top of Topanga to be closer to nature. Kyra is a successful real estate agent whereas Delaney writes a column on nature while staying at home with their son.
This upscale hilltop community was safe from the Mexican immigrants which came in great numbers through the borders Coates After a period of unemployment, he tries to find work in the city. In The Simpsons episodea similar path is recognizable. But the Springfield inhabitants become sick and the Ogdenville inhabitants are blamed. Forced to leave their own homes, they try to find work in the suburb of Springfield, the representation of a suburban community.
The American Dream and cheap labour forces It is because of the reasons I have discussed in the previous chapter that Mexican immigrants were welcomed to Araya Blanco. After the high rates of unemployment in Mexico, Mexican immigrants searched for the American Dream, the myth that everybody can become rich through hard work and determination. Both look for a better life than the one they had in Mexico.
Although they are caught by the border patrol and are thrown back several times, they never lose hope and keep trying to succeed in their American Dream. This also indicates how horrible their living conditions in Mexico must have been Symbolism.
- The Tortilla Curtain
- The Tortilla Curtain- Character Comparison
It was in both their interest to maintain invisible. The only moment in which the workers became visible was when they went home Knapp This is also depicted in The Simpsons episode, in which the Ogdenville Norwegian nanny has to take care of Maggie and the men have to fix the house. Homer finds these cheap work forces on a parking lot, which represents the labour exchange.
They even take care of Selma, which, according to Homer, is their best accomplishment. In the earlier part of the episode, they are only visible when they are working. Afterwards, they start becoming visible outside of the working environment as well, which will be discussed in the next chapter.
Control and in visibility Whereas the previous chapter dealt with how suburban residents were eager to use illegal immigrants to do jobs nobody else wanted to do, this chapter focuses on how control and visibility plays an important role in the gated community. As we discussed in our previous chapter, homeowners felt secure enough to hire Latinos to care for their children and their aging parents as well as clean their homes, inside and out.
But despite all these responsibilities, they still needed to install a gate and a wall in order to protect themselves from crime Knapp This gated community is part of a national trend toward privatization.
These gated communities function as a segregation in which upper- middle class people are isolating themselves from the other class groups which do not correspond with regards to income Knapp In other words, if you live in Arroyo Blanco, which means white river, you can be only white, as difference is simply not tolerated.
As the community is very restrictive, residents cannot hang laundry nor can they park pick-up trucks on the streets. There are no basketball 6 courts as it would attract unsavoury people from other places Knapp So in short, the relationship between residents of gated communities and the illegal immigrants is an economic one, as well as a superior one Knapp These gates function symbolically to isolate the poor from contact with the mainstream society, thus further making it difficult to improve their situation Knapp Boyle uses this in numerous ways throughout the novel.
One example is how the residents of Arroyo Blanco approve the existence of a labour exchange at the convenience store, where residents can hire help for cleaning, yard work and other work.
However, when the labour exchange becomes too crowded, Kyra feels that this will affect property values and she wants to shut it down. She feels that there is a threat of losing control, and it must be stopped in time. The advantage of illegal labour was that when they were no longer useful, they could be easily disposed Knapp Whether dealing with economic interest or a decision to gate a community, both represent the motion of control.
We could even state that people are drawn to a gated community because they want to be in control, either with regards to property or to other material goods like a car. Their control is based on the exclusivity of this access Hicks Yet this control is slipping away when a fire is threatening the Arroyo Blanco development. As the residents are starting to lose control over the immigrants, they assume that the Mexicans are to blame.
What is at stake here is that immigrants are threatening to destroy the whiteness as they transform America with their presence. This is further exemplified by the racial language throughout the second part of the novel. Through gates and walls, they seek control to exclude outsiders from their territory.
This is depicted when the community meeting discusses the installation of the gate. Like Jack Cherrystone states, they have gone too far: He believes that there are far too many immigrants. According to him, the legal ones are skilled and possess money, while the illegal immigrants are poor and therefore steal, rob or murder.
For Delaney, the gate appeared to be something wrong, as Arroyo Blanco ought to be a community with liberty for everybody. However, when he first experiences the black car slowly passing, he starts to consider the idea of a gate, as he suddenly feels unprotected.
Another representation of control is the use of the car throughout the novel. In a way, it organizes the story. Later in the text, Delaney discovers that his car has been stolen while he is hiking the trails near his home. Although Delaney has no actual information about who has stolen his car, he is convinced immigrants are the perpetrators. Specifically, this episode represents the degree of how whiteness is represented in owning a car.
Yet in this episode Delaney also experiences the loss of the car as the loss of familiarity and knowability itself. The car symbolizes something different for each main character.
For Kyra, the car represents a safe zone, in which the danger lures from the outside. And if this contrast is meant to highlight the distinction between the relatively trivial and the deadly serious, it is also the case that given the tremendous class and status distinctions between the one couple and the other, even something so small as a touch can bring down worlds.
There are numerous examples here of the naturalization of social contradictions, an ideological maneuver intimately connected to blame the victim tropes reversing cause and effect. In the novel, NAFTA, supported by the majority of the homeowners in Arroyo Blanco it is implied, is not seen as related to the immigration problem, and it is overheard among cocktail conversation, along with discussions of gourmet food. That the wealthy are in fact sucking the ordinary tax payers dry is turned into the vampiristic immigrant sucking dry the homeowner, himself compared to Jesus Christ appropriately Candido is compared to Christ throughout.
The Tortilla Curtain Reader’s Guide
We will get to the details of this socialism of the predatory rich when we consider the problem of socially caused natural disasters. Technically, unemployment was not nearly that high in Mexico, but that is because much of the Mexican employment is of the informal variety and might easily be characterized as unemploy- ment if there were unemployment insurance. The million new laborers released into the labor market is accurate. Inflation did soar around this time in the wake of the devaluation of the peso, hitting 50 percent.
As Gandy and Hodges note, when opened, the economy collapsed in the worst recession since —to cement the Depression era connection. But this is primarily a reference to The Grapes of Wrath, the burning of the crops in Chapter 25, the famous interchapter where Steinbeck shows the contradictions of capital accumulation to be at the heart of both Okie migration and starvation, and so by extension we are to assume the same basic processes at work here.
Jack and Delaney pick up on these problems in a distorted and racist way. Delaney then rewrites the dynamics of capital accumulation in context in the Darwinist language of territoriality: Kyra had cleaned up the corner of Shoup and Ventura, and Dominick Flood had cleaned up the labor exchange. But where were these people supposed to go?
Delaney doubted it, knowing what he did about migratory animal species and how one population responded to being displaced by another.
It made for war, for violence and killing, until one group had decimated the other and reestablished its claim to the prime hunting, breeding or grazing grounds. It was a sad fact, but true As both Davis and Delaney note, these fires are a natural part of chaparral ecology and it would have happened at this time of year with or without the turkey since the Santa Anas are strongest during the fall, especially between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
While the fire has natural causes, its damage results from social contradictions—the dialectics of white flight, privatization, flight from development—naturalized by being blamed on the racialized and bestialized incendiary other. Boyle makes clear the near identity between war on nature and war on the other. After the fire starts, the planes come in to put it out: Bombers [C s probably] pounded overhead. To help us understand clearly the class character of certain seemingly natural disasters, Davis pairs two analyses of fire and its social costs: This separate and unequal fire treatment is one component of a general subsidizing of the rich through the creation of edge cities that loot not just the inner city but the older suburbs, which subsidize their own decline.
Fire, white flight, eco-racism lead the wealthy deeper into the chaparral firebelt: This process despoils nature and extends the privatization of formerly public space.
Correspondingly, Candido scales this same wall—which he helped build to get in—to get food and shelter. If fire in this context accelerates gentrification, it also brings floods in its wake.
Or how many houses were packed up there all the way to the asshole of the canyon and every one of them leaching waste out into the gullies and streams that fed into the creek?
Candido and America will escape the holocaust by climbing this Mount Trashmore. This flood that ends the novel is described as a river of shit and brings home dramatically who the real polluters are and what causes Candido to shit in the chaparral. And her prime listing, the Da Ros place has burned down in this one. This last loss to fire sends her into a tailspin. She returns to her car, her last sanctuary, and calms herself by listening to nature tapes, the nature her job and the cars and roads that go with it are helping to despoil.
And so we have another disastrous dialectic of vicious circles that surround and devour all in their path TC It was ridiculous, she knew it. There were people out there going through Dumpsters for a scrap to eat, people lined up. What was wrong with her? This is a kind of Christmas Carol moment. But ultimately, Kyra, instead of dedicating herself sentimentally to the poor, dedicates herself to the rich. While Boyle acknowledges the reality if not the power of human decency, the trope of kindness during holidays is mercilessly debunked.
This was the man, the very man—had to be. And as he passed by her again, jaunty on his bad leg, the space opened so wide it could have sucked in the whole universe The connection between these moments is suggested in several ways.
If Boyle recruits Steinbeck to suggest interesting parallels between the 90s and the 30s, the migration of the Okies and the migration of Mexican workers, it ought also to be noted that—to develop the shared context uniting the three writers—both Steinbeck and Davis were influenced by the work of Carey Mcwilliams, who studied in detail not just the movement of labor in the U. If Steinbeck emphasized the dynamics of capital accumulation, Boyle deepens this analysis by bringing out the racializing character of this process.
With the Faulkner reference, readers might focus on parallels like rape, as both Joe Christmases rape key female characters, and both characters are animalistic, predatory, roaming. Their wives 11 and children were starving.
The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle
America sees something a little different: Jose Navidad is one of these dead, hopeless men, bent and whipped. There seem to be utopian moments, moments of surprise, when a common humanity shines through. Prior to meeting America, Candido, along with other migrant workers, heads to Oregon looking for farm work. Their car breaks down and they are chased by cops.