# The Tortilla Curtain Summary and Analysis of Part I, Chapters 7 & 8

## Summary

Chapter seven opens with Delaney cooking dinner for Kyra. Realizing that he has no pasta, he is forced to make a trip to the supermarket, taking a reluctant Jordan with him and thus tearing him away from his computer games. Once at the supermarket, he leaves Jordan in the car with his video game and runs in, hoping to spend as little time there as possible. Those hopes are dashed as soon as he runs into Jack Jardine, who comments on Delaney's passionate appearance at the town hall meeting the other night. The two get into a discussion about the gate. Delaney calls it "irresponsible," citing his belief in a democratic society, while Jardine cites safety concerns, going as far as saying that such safety measurements will be necessary until the borders can be controlled. Delaney is outraged at this statement, countering that the United States is a nation of immigrants. The two go back and forth, arguing the benefits and detriments of immigrants in the United States until Jack's son, Jack Jr., runs into them. The three head to the cash registers, and as they go, Jack assumes his role as a politician, trying to reconcile the argument between himself and Delaney. Once all three of them have checked out, they have moved past the argument.

Outside of the supermarket, Jack and Delaney are discussing problem of feeding the coyotes when they hear an altercation going on across the parking lot. Delaney is truly shocked to see that the recipient of the racist remarks being thrown out by the large, burly white man is none other than Cándido, or, as Delaney knows him, the man he hit with his car. He feels a mixture of anger and guilt, outraged that this ingrate is hassling people yet ashamed when he sees Cándido's scarred face. The white man angrily shoves the Mexican, eliciting a cry from the latter. Upon seeing this, Jack Jr. clenches his fists, while his father merely looks away in distaste. Cándido madly apologizes to the three men, not seeming to recognize Delaney before he turns and walks away.

Meanwhile, Kyra is at the Da Ros place, not doing a very good job of trying to sell the place to Louisa and Bill Greutert. From the way that she is phrasing her words, it is clear that she does not want to sell the place, managing to put a negative spin on the home's large size and even on it's out of the way location, even though Bill had told her that the couple was looking for a remote home, away from the immigrant-filled inner city. Louisa can sense Kyra's unwillingness to sell the home, and it is something that surprises even Kyra herself. She has never felt this way about a house before, and it is showing in her inability to even socialize properly with the Greuterts. After two and a half hours, they tell Kyra that the place is not for them, and, despite having stood to gain double the commission on the house, Kyra is glad.

The last chapter of Part I returns once more to Cándido in the parking lot of the supermarket. He is waiting there for América, since that is one of the only places she knows and thus where she would look for him. He is relieved when he sees her get out of Shirley's car, yet at the same time he is ashamed that she was forced to provide for the two of them. He follows her into the supermarket and finds her joyful that she had earned money for the first time in her life - however, there are also traces of shame in her expression which Cándido cannot explain. Nevertheless, the two are overjoyed at being able to buy a decent amount of food, ignoring the suspicious looks of their fellow shoppers. They head down to the ravine, Cándido instructing América to take off her clothes for the trip across the lake to the campsite. The two spend the night enjoying their food and each other, feeling much happier for the first time in days.

The next day, both Cándido and América head to the labor exchange, since Cándido had been strong enough to climb out of the ravine the day before. América is excited that they both can work, for that meant that she would get her dream home sooner. However, despite being among the first ones there and attempting to hide his injuries, Cándido is rejected by employer after employer. At about 9:30, Jim Shirley returns to pick up América for a second day of scrubbing Buddha statues. Upon seeing his car, América's insides seize up in fear in a way that she had never felt before, remembering the hand of the man in her lap. Despite this, she gets in the car, imagining the $25 that she would earn. Mary is not there to join her today. She gets in the car alone and drives away with Jim, leaving Cándido at the labor exchange. Back at Jim Shirley's house, América goes back to work scraping away at the Buddhas. Today, however, the work is much more painful for some reason. The fumes were affecting her eyes much more than they had the previous day, causing them to constantly water. Furthermore, Jim had forgotten to give her gloves, and as a result, the corrosive cleaning materials were eating away at her hands. However, she is too timid to ask for gloves, scared that the patrón will walk in on her and yell at her for not working hard enough. Finally, her fingers burning, head spinning, and body telling her that she needed to use the bathroom, she opens a door in her tiny room to reveal an adorable pink and white bathroom where she could relieve herself and wash her hands, although she did not use the towels for fear of dirtying them. América is so entranced by the bathroom that she sits in there for several minutes, daydreaming of what her life could be like in the future, until a loud noise from upstairs scares her back into work. However, three Buddhas later, the pain on her hands is too much to handle, and she goes to find her employer. After wandering around the large house for a little bit, she finally finds him and pantomimes her request. He seems simply irritated with her but gets her the gloves and slams the door shut after her. She gets through the rest of her day by imagining the food that she and Cándido had made the previous night. Jim comes back to get her at exactly six, not acknowledging her hard work at all. Today, he does not lay his hand in her lap, simply kicking her out of the car with the$25.