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Gated Communities and Segregation in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle - Essay Example

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Gated communities and Segregation in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle Part 1: Immigration of people into United States is an ‘omnipresent’ aspect of American life, as people from all over the world, view U.S. as the land of optimal opportunities, and so enter it both legally and illegally…
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Gated Communities and Segregation in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle
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"Gated Communities and Segregation in The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle"

Download file to see previous pages Though segregation based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc., is now illegal, there are still some practices among the citizens like the existence of gated communities that cause segregation and racism. Although, one section of people views gated communities as a feasible and practical way of living, other sections view it as ‘islands’ which promote segregation. This issue of gated communities forms a subtle but a key part of the novel, The Tortilla Curtain written by T.C. Boyle and published by Viking Press in 1995. Boyle is a ‘Distinguished Professor’ of English at the University of Southern California and lives in the Santa Barbara. He has written over 12 novels as well as more than 100 short stories winning, with many of his works reflecting the issues and lifestyle of people living in California including The Tortilla Curtain. “The Southern California writer T. C. Boyle captures the separation that marks daily life in Los Angeles.” (Fuller, Bridges and Pai 145). Boyle sets his novel in the Topanga Canyon where the lives of two couples, who live an entirely different lifestyles, cross each other with tragic and at the same thought-provoking results. The main protagonist couple, Delaney, a sensitive writer about nature and Kyra Mossbacher, an obsessive real estate agent, move in to a newly gated community nestled among the natural surroundings called Arroyo Blanco. The other couple is the Mexican illegal immigrants, Candido and his pregnant wife America Rincon, who enter the American borders illegally wanting to achieve the American Dream of a prosperous life, but live in an awful condition in a makeshift camp deep in the Topanga Canyon. When a freak car accident involving Delaney and Candido happens, it leads to further interactions between the couples with their opposing worlds intersecting in a problematic and tragic manner. The interactions between the couples mainly arise due the setting of the gated community. Boyle paints the picture of a strictly conforming gated community, where all the houses were white with orange roofs. “…lay the massed orange tile rooftops of Arroyo Blanco” (Boyle 74). The private community gives a sense of exclusivity. The concept of a gated community, with a homeowners association, is to provide a safe neighborhood with all the facilities. However, when viewed from another perspective, by facilitating families of similar races and class to live closer together, while ‘ignoring’ other sections of the people, it is leading to segregation. Part 2: Gated community is the term given to the residential neighborhoods which have a surrounding wall and a main gate for entry. This form of residential living has become a key part of the new housing market, particularly in the urban areas. It is viewed as a new form of urbanism, under which public spaces in various geographical territories are being privatized. They have thus become a “symbol of metropolitan fragmentation and social segregation”, with segregation happening mainly along economic and racial lines (Le Goix 76a). Le Goix (9) further states that “gated communities are located within every kind of middle class and upper-class neighborhoods, with half of them are located within the rich, upper-scale and mostly white neighborhoods, and one third are located within ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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