The Tortilla Curtain

A Powerful Satire: How The Tortilla Curtain Effectively Exposes Hypocrisy and Racism in Our Society

T. C. Boyle, author of The Tortilla Curtain, stated in defense of his harsh depiction of characters Kyra and Delaney Mossbacher that, "If it's satire, it has to bite somebody, has to have teeth in it, otherwise it's useless" (Penguin Group). This comes as a response to critics who argue that the Mossbacher's characterizations are flat caricature and that Boyle's tone is not one of daring satire but of hollow contempt and sarcasm. The reason Boyle depicts the Mossbacher characters as being extremely harsh, is for them to stand out. If they did not stand out, they would not serve their purpose in helping the overall satire expose the main theme. Therefore, the critics of Boyle’s text are only supporting Boyle's view on a good satire. Recognizing how much the characters stand out proves how effective Boyle's strategies are. Also, the critics acknowledge that Boyle uses sarcasm, which is an element of a satire that works to reveal the main theme. Therefore, the harsh and critical depiction of some of the characters and the sarcasm used are reasons why The Tortilla Curtain is in fact an effective satire, exposing the hypocrisy and racism in our society.

Before delving into the main theme of The...

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