What is the analysis of the "gated community" in The Tortilla Curtain?

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The gated community in which Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher live is a symbol of the way affluent, white Americans falsely believe that they can keep out what they deem undesirable elements of the community. Even though they live in a gated community, what they want to keep out somehow finds them.

For example, a coyote finds its way into their community and kills one of their dogs. After the incident, Delaney is distraught. Boyle writes of Delaney, "All he'd been able to think about was the dog and the gnawed bit of bone and flesh he'd found beneath a dusty clump of manzanita" (page 45). The chewed-up dog is a symbol of the way in which nature and other forces find their way into the community. The irony is that Delaney works for a nature magazine, but he doesn't seem to understand that even affluence can't stop nature from intruding into suburban communities. 

Delaney's neighbors are keen to construct a gate around their community, and Jack, one of the neighbors, likens the situation of the community to that of the American borders and what he considers the problems of immigration. Delaney thinks to himself, "The borders. Delaney took an involuntary step backward, all those dark, disordered faces rising up from the street corners and freeway on-ramps to mob his brain" (page 101). Delaney, while considering himself a liberal, can't deal with the problems of the poor Mexican immigrants who cross the so-called "tortilla curtain" into the US. He tries to avoid the problem, which is symbolized by his step backward.

The reality is that Delaney and Kyra and the other inhabitants of the gated community can't protect themselves from nature, immigrants, or any of the other elements they are trying to keep out. When Cándido Rincón, a Mexican immigrant at the heart of the story, inadvertently starts a fire by roasting a turkey for himself and his pregnant wife, the fire spreads to the gated community. Boyle suggests that the gated community only keeps meanness and a certain myopia inside of it and that life will find the members of the community despite their attempts to shield themselves. 

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