In Boyle's novel The Tortilla Curtain, how does the author offer a space for minority voices?

1 Answer | Add Yours

tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the novel The Tortilla Curtain, author T. Coraghessan Boyle speaks the voice of minorities to his readers through his character Candido Rincon. Candido is a Mexican immigrant who crossed the Mexico-Southern California border illegally. The story depicts all of his hardships with the purpose of offering a minority voice who can expose America's exploitation of the poor and show that, rich or poor, American or Mexican, we are all common brothers.

Candido's first troubles arise when, in Los Angeles, he is hit by a car driven by upper-middle-class Delaney Mossbacher. Delaney offers to help but insufficiently. His insufficiency is partially due to having trouble communicating with Candido and partially due to being unable to fully empathize with Candido's pain and needs. Candido was very clearly severely injured by the accident, and if Delaney had more wits about him and a greater ability to empathize, he would have phoned for an ambulance or immediately driven Candido to the hospital himself; he would not have stood their repeatedly asking Candido if he needed a doctor or how he could help. The true extent of his inability to empathize is shown when Delaney hands Candido 20 dollars and leaves. Clearly Candido's need for medical attention costs far more than 20 dollars, and Boyle uses this scene to paint Americans as unemphatic and willing to exploit others.

As the story progresses, Boyle continues to voice Candido's suffering as he paints his homelessness, his struggles to find work, and the sufferings of his pregnant wife.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question