Innocent Bystander

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
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Innocent Bystander In the novel "The Tortilla Curtain", by T. C Boyle, it tells a story about two completely different families; one family who is quite wealthy and the other who had illegally crossed the border and is barely making ends meet. In the story, a young lady by the name of America is taken to California by her husband, only to be victimized. Although she may not be the only victim in the book, she has been through a great ordeal of pain and suffering. America is a victim of immigration, racism, the American dream, and bad luck.

America has left Mexico, with her husband Candido, to start a better life for not only themselves, but there unborn child as well. Immigration and racism has been a big issue for them throughout the story, even more so with America. Within the first few days upon arrival they both find themselves cornered by a couple of boys. These boys find whatever belongings both America and Candido had and when they realize there is a female present they say "fucking beaners, rip it up, man. Destroy it" (Boyle 62).

Migrating to California illegally was difficult because in a situation like this, there could have been nothing done to stop them. All America wanted was to find work to help support her family. The struggle bore on from "dawn till noon and she didn't get work" (Boyle 57). America has risked it all mad no matter how hard she tries she cannot seem to find work. America had left everything behind in search of this American dream she had played over and over in her head. She had been told, by her husband Candido, she was going to live a wonderful life and he had promised her nothing but the best.

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America didn't need the finer things in life, all she desired was "a house, a yard, maybe a TV and a car too" (Boyle 29). She didn't need too much to satisfy her, but being that America and Candido started from the bottom, it was more than what he had to offer. As they walk further into the land which they call their home America can't help but gaze "out on the grounded constellation on the valley floor, grid upon grid of lights and every one house, an apartment… everyone the promise if a life that would never again be this hard" (Boyle 206).

America is again dreaming about the life she hopes to live in California and can only hope for the best outcome unto which she plans to bring a baby into place she knows so little about. She hopes that this is the America had gone through so much from the beginning of the novel. Candido had "taken America from her father so they could have a better life… -and now he couldn't out food in her mouth" (Boyle 26). She had left the family she had ever known to risk it all to start a new life, and only to go day by day wondering how long she will have to go until her next meal.

She had been victimized of racism and immigration from the first few days upon arrival and then she had to suffer statvation? It came down to where America told Candido she could not live like that. America had finally found a job, working for Jose Navidad, cleaning statues that he had imported. Just when things were starting to turn around, she is violated and raped by the man who had hired her. She tries to put the past behind her and think positive for her unborn child. After the baby is born America realizes she must have caught something from being raped because her baby cannot see.

Candido was left with a "violated wife and a blind baby" (Boyle 353), and at the end Americas first born child is taken away by the current of the water. From the beginning things are not looking too good for America. She had been hurt emotionally and physically with hardly any sign of their life getting better. She had given in to so many promises, none of which were ever kept. The impact that immigration, racism, the American dream, and back luck, had left America with nothing. She was just an innocent bystander trying to better her life.

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Innocent Bystander. (2017, Jan 14). Retrieved from

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