The Tortilla Curtain

The Entitled White Man of 'The Tortilla Curtain': Analyzing Delaney's Responses to Society College

In the Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, we are introduced to two very different main characters,Cándido Rincón and Delaney Mossbacher. When the novel first begins, Delaney is described as a “liberal humanist” (Boyle 1) who supports immigrants despite the anti-immigrant mentality that surrounds him. In spite of the novel constantly depicting the negative aspects illegal immigration, specifically in 1990’s Los Angeles, there are times where Delaney stands up and even advocates for everyone’s right to migrate regardless of race or origin. However, as the novel unfolds, it sets up a confusing understanding of Delaney’s persona. His views and beliefs start to vary, he’s constantly jumping back and forth from racist to immigrant rights advocate and he becomes internally conflicted. At the end of the novel, the bigotry and xenophobia seem to be the only explanation to Delaney’s transformation because they overcame the “liberal humanist” (Boyle 13) values that Delaney expressed at the beginning of the novel. The ugly belief that the United States should only belong only to people who look like him (white) becomes transparent and even leads him to make terrible decisions. Delaney’s internal suffering and eventual transformation embodies...

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