Tortilla Curtain

Part 1
Chapter 1:
The chapter starts with Delaney hitting an unidentified man on the highway while going through Topanga Canyon. Delaney hits Candido, one of the other main characters in the play. After Delaney hits him with his car, he then immediately asks himself if his car is all right. He gets over that, and realizes that he just hit a human being. The next paragraph is Delaney searching for the body and yelling “hello.” He finally can hear some grimacing that comes from some nearby bushes. He finds Candido there, with blood coming from the Mexican’s mouth and his face covered by raw flesh. His upper arm had dirt and pieces of leaves sticking to the blood. He was carrying a bag of tortillas, a grocery bag that was torn with small slivers of plastic through the glass. Delaney tried to speak to him in French and Candido couldn’t understand. Finally the conversation ends and Delaney gives him $20 and leaves. He drives to the Acura dealership and tells the dealer that he ran over a dog or a coyote. Delaney then calls his wife from the dealership and his wife tells him to call Jack, a friend, lawyer, and adviser, to ask him what could happen to him if the Mexican filed suit. The chapter ends with Delaney saying he gave Candido $20 and then Kyra his wife asks why only $20. Delaney replies he was only Mexican.


Chapter 2:
The chapter begins with the introduction of Candido a new immigrant to the U.S. waking up at his “bed” near the river of a canyon. He is hurt from a “gabacho” or a white man that hit him the day before. He threw up instantly and tried to walk down to the creek to where he fell twice. Then America is introduce, she is Candido’s wife. She is on the way back from a job interview that never materialized. Then she sees a man lying on the middle of the path to which leads to her camp. The man turns out to be Candido he is sleeping in the middle of the path. She walks him back to camp and she realizes all the scrapes, bumps, bruises, and cuts on his body. The narration skips to Candido where he is in bed back at camp. His pain is progressively getting worse. America offers him a drink he declines then America says he needs a doctor. He is more worried about immigration though, so he declines. He falls asleep and awakes the next morning still in pain. America tries to talk to him but he cannot. America later tells him that he has been out of his senses for three days. Then one afternoon, a couple of days after the accident, he suddenly asks America if there were any beans left. She is relieved that he can talk sensibly and served him the food. He talks himself about his injuries and his face and how he didn’t care how ugly he looked just as long as he could work. In the morning America says she is going to the work line. He refuses saying that he won’t let her go because he will be frightened when she is gone. However she convinces him be saying that there is no more food and she will get a job mopping a floor or something.

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Chapter 3:
The chapter begins at the Mossbacher household where Delaney is up and cooking breakfast for his son Jordan and his wife Kyra. They live in a private community outside of L.A. Kyra is the worker of the family while Delaney stays home and takes care of the house. Delaney finishes preparing their breakfasts and lets the two dogs, and the Siamese cat out. The others finally awake and come down for breakfast. Jordan complains about his food and the dogs kept barking. Jordan then goes to his playroom to watch TV and Kyra comes down. She complains to him about her job at the realtors. Then all of a sudden the dogs let of a sudden shriek and Delaney springs into action. He bolts from his chair into the back yard where he sees a coyote taking one of his dogs over the fence. Delaney then hopped over the fence and couldn’t see the dog nor the coyote. The next paragraphs are about Delaney going to the town meeting. He had found a leg of one of the dogs and Kyra was delirious to the issue, although she did not know about the leg. At the meeting the topic is a gate to conceal the community. Delaney tries to sit through it but he finally gives up and tries to address the assembly, only to be turned down due to the fact that is not the topic. He is then outraged enough to take the leg out of his pocket and hold it up in front of everyone. After that he leaves and sits on the steps outside. There he is confronted by Jack Jr. He says his condolences then asks him about Candido. Jack Jr. knew because he had been in the room when Delaney went to go see Jack about the situation. Jack said there was nothing the Mexican could do. Jack Jr. asked Delaney if he knew where the accident happened and Delaney told him. Delaney then heads home to close the chapter.

This is a typical Spanish style home like the one the Mossbachers own.


Chapter 4:
America and Candido narrate this chapter. It starts off with America leaving for the labor exchange against Candido’s request. She comes home that afternoon with some food although she does not get work. She goes again the next day and Candido is left at the camp. He pretty much sleeps and thinks of how much “gringo land” or the U.S. is different from Mexico. Then he thinks about his past and how he had been married to America’s sister. He would come home after spending months in the U.S. with gifts and money. He awakes from one of his doses in a sweat and drinks the dirty river water. From the river he contracts diarrhea and has to go to the bathroom. Halfway through his experience, he hears a couple of “gringos” on their way down to the river and he thinks that they are immigration. The scene ends and switches to America, who is at the labor exchange. She finally musters up the courage to go talk to the man in charge of the labor exchange. His name is Candelario Perez from Oaxaca, Mexico. He tells her to wait near him in case somebody needs a woman to work. After a while, another woman shows up and introduces herself to America as Mary. She is a White drunk who is looking for the same work as America. It is 12:00 P.M. when the labor exchange ends and America has no job. The author ends America’s paragraph with the story of how she steals all the food she brought Candido the day before. It skips back to Candido, where the “gringos” have just found his stuff and are tearing and wrecking it. They toss his belongings in the river and rip America’s dress. They leave, but not before writing, “BEANERS DIE,” on the rocks with spray paint.


Chapter 5:
The chapter starts with Delaney walking to his house relaxed, when all of a sudden, a car, moving very slowly, shines its high beam lights in Delaney’s face . From the car comes the heavy beat of rap music. The car is strolling menacingly down Arroyo Blanco. Delaney then walks into his house and finds Kyra in bed thinking about their dead dog, Sacheravell. She still does not know that Delaney had found its paw. She finally gets it out of him through a series of begs and pleads. Then the chapter skips to Kyra going to the Matzoob’s to show a house. Then she heads to the five houses that she has to close each night and she goes through the first four automatically. She gets to the last house, the Da Ros house, which is her favorite. It is huge and overlooks Topanga Canyon. Then the scene skips to Delaney who is writing his article about nature for his monthly review.


Chapter 6:
The chapter starts with Candido in another rage with America. She says she is going off to work again and Candido tells her to stay home. She then asks what right he has over her. He struggles to get up and slaps her squarely in the face. She leaves for the labor exchange. There, a tall man with a backwards hat hands her a cup of coffee in a nice gesture. Then the man with the hat starts to harass her heavily saying that she is pretty and she is not going to be married much longer. She then gets a break when a big shiny black car pulls in and wants women for work. America and another women get into the car and head down the highway. The narration skips to Candido who is trying to find a place to move camp. His motivation is to get away from the gabacho boys who tore up the camp he is currently at. He finds a small beach opposite a lake they would have to cross each day to get to work and starts to set up camp. He builds a roof and then dozes off, wondering where America is. He wakes up and heads back up the trail to try to find America. On the way up he sees a man with a backwards hat who confronts him about the land down where Candido came from. Candido says that the land is no good because the gabachos raid it often. The conversation ends and Candido is left to find America. He sees a fat man eating and lunges into him, wanting the food, and the fat guy pushes him away. Then the chapter is in the hands of America where she is working her heart out in some basement. She is instructed to polish little statues of Buddha. Then her time is up and the man who employs her tells her to come with him. The man leads her out to his car were she gets in. They drive through a gate at the end of the community that wasn’t there before and has a sign reading, “Arroyo Blanco.” After they drop Mary off, the girl America is working with, the man who is driving places his hand on America’s thigh. Then he cheats her out of the two extra hours she worked and kicks her out of the car.


Chapter 7:
This chapter’s main focus is on how Delaney gets his car stolen and Kyra’s sudden attachment to the Da Ros house. Delaney starts out the chapter cooking marinara sauce for Jordan and Kyra. He then goes the supermarket to pick up the pasta for his dish and runs into Jack and Jack Jr. there. Jack brings up the subject of immigration. Jack explains to Delaney that immigration is out of hand. Delaney, however, takes the opposite side and says that immigration is the heart of the country and that is how they got to California. They argue all the way out to the parking lot and find themselves in the middle of a situation with a strange Mexican. The Mexican is all scraped up and appears to have just bumped into somebody in the parking lot who was outraged at him. The chapter then goes to Kyra where she is selling a house to some uninterested family. They are friends with Da Ros’ though, so she has to act interested. Since the dog died Kyra has been in a bad mood so she is her typical upbeat, cheerful self. The people do not buy the house and the chapter switches narrators to Delaney. Delaney is engrossed in his article though he can not get the words out of his mouth and onto paper. Delaney then decides to take his daily hike early and hike a part of Topanga canyon he usually doesn’t take. He drives down to the canyon and parks along the street near a construction site. He starts his hike and within a minute he comes upon a campsite that is a refuge to garbage and toilet paper. He becomes outraged that “they,” meaning the Mexicans, already destroyed the better part of the world and they are destroying this too. He carries on though and not five minutes later he hears the voices of Spanish people. A man with a backward hat tries to talk to Delaney but Delaney casually turns around and heads back to his car. He gets to the highway where he parked and walks towards his car but he is greeted with nothing. His car is stolen. Delaney tries asking the construction workers about it, but they have no clue so he calls Kyra who tells him to call Jack.


Chapter 8:
The chapter starts out with Candido, who is waiting for America at the labor exchange. America finally gets out of a black car and heads in to the supermarket where Candido meets up with her. They buy tortillas, meat, and eggs to fill their stomachs which have not been fed in days. They head back to camp and then Candido says that they have moved camp to get away from the gabachos. They get to the water hole and America and Candido both strip to their birthday suits and cross. They cook, clean and then go to bed. In the morning they both get up and go to the labor exchange where they wait for a job. America’s fat white man comes first in his shiny black car and she says good-bye to Candido and leaves. She is taken into the same basement and told to do the same thing. Clean the Buddhas until there are no more. However, today they have not supplied her with gloves. Halfway into the day her fingers start to crack and look like those of a corpse. She goes to the bathroom a couple of times to wash them but that does not help so she goes to find the fat man. The fat man looks at her hand, curses and goes away. He comes back with latex gloves. The day then ends early for her and she is taken back to the lot and given $25. She then heads back to camp where she is greeted by the man with the backwards hat who takes her to the ground when she is running away and rapes her right there.


Part 2
Chapter 1
The chapter starts out with Delaney in the car dealership asking about his car and how much it is going to cost to get replaced. He gets his new car and drives to meet Kyra for lunch. After a quick lunch, Kyra and Delaney go outside and hear the whimpering and screaming of a dog. Kyra runs to a car where the dog is locked inside with no air. Then, in an instant, she starts screaming to find the owner of the car who she finds moments later back at the lot. Kyra starts yelling at this guy only to have an f-you thrown back at her. After all this, Kyra goes back to work and Delaney heads for a trail on the northern part of the canyon. He gets there, parks and heads up the trail. Two minutes into the walk he thinks about his car heads back, afraid that some Mexican will steal it. Half way back he decides to stake out the car and hide in a nearby bush. Meanwhile, Kyra has showed the house and is back home with the fence people who are putting up a new, bigger fence to protect the other dog. After this she goes to lock up the other houses. She locks the first four but when she gets to the Da Ros’ she sees a shopping cart on their driveway. She inspects the house for intruders and there are none. Finally she gets into her car and drives down the driveway only to find two Mexicans stunned by the sight of a car, one with a backwards hat, and the other a bit smaller. They shoot questions back and forth and Kyra gets them to leave the house by threatening to call the police.


Chapter 2:
The chapter starts with the story of Candido’s life in the U.S. and how he gets deported. It starts with his getting work in Idaho, which soon ends at the end of the picking season. That takes him back to LA, where he buys a car with three other guys, only to break down on the highway in northern California. The cops show up at the scene and all four flee in opposite directions. Candido finds a house where they feed him and take him to the Greyhound station. There, he takes a bus back to LA where he gets in an INS bust and runs away with two other men. In the chase between them and the INS officers they start to cross the highway, when a car hits the other two men. Candido runs away across the highway to Topanga Canyon. He stays there about a week before returning to Mexico. The scene changes to Candido at home where he sees America. She immediately tells him about the men and how they took her money. Candido asks if she was raped and she lies by saying no. The chapter then focuses on America where she is peeing in a bush and gets a terrible pain. She sits and waits for Candido each day as she is pregnant. Then Candido is at the store and purchases two forty’s of some cheap beer and a couple of sausages for himself . He also buys some maternity clothes for America before heading back home.

U.S. Immigration capturing illegal immigrants
Chapter 3:
The chapter starts with Delaney frying some tofu kabobs on the grill. He is cooking for Jordan and Kyra. At dinner Kyra mentions that she had informed somebody at work about a bunch of Mexican men standing on the street corner near the 7-11. A couple days later she drives past and they are all gone. Then Delaney and Jack take a trip to the house of Dominick Flood, who happens to be a felon, convicted for some illegal investments. They talk about immigration and the immigration situation. Jack and the rest are pointing out that immigration has ruined California as immigrants are taking away citizens’ jobs. Then the chapter skips to the Mossbacher backyard where they are eating on their porch. All of a sudden a coyote comes stalking into the backyard and grabs Osbert, the other dog. A chase begins when Delaney jumps out of his seat and runs after the coyote who jumps over the fence with Osbert.


Chapter 4:
Candido starts this chapter with a bit of bad luck. He gets robbed on a job and is not paid any money. He can not get any more work after that and he shows up at the labor exchange and the place is closed. The gabacho’s have informed the INS which abruptly closed the labor exchange. Candido, all frustrated at life and how it has treated him, goes on a rage and attempts to steal a woman’s purse at the supermarket. However, the woman sees him in the act of stealing and yells at him. Then America learns that Candido is taking her to Canoga Park, which is about ten miles away. There they will try to find a place to stay and a place for Candido to work. They get there the next day to find nothing, no jobs, and no apartments to buy with the money that they have. They are waiting on a street corner when a man asks Candido if he needs a place to stay. Candido goes with the man and tells America to wait for him.


Chapter 5:
This chapter is actually the article that Delaney writes for his monthly review. In it he states that the coyote population is getting way out of hand and civilization is being affected by it. His argument is based on a UCLA biologist and his main idea is that the overpopulation of the animals has led to them sneaking into backyards and killing babies or in his case, dogs.


Chapter 6:
The chapter starts with Kyra at the Da Ros’. She has filed a report on the two men she had seen there, but it amounted to nothing because there was no evidence to say that they had actually been living there. Then the narration changes to Delaney where he his preparing a salad for Kyra. During that time, Kyra brings up that Jack asked her to work on the fence project. Delaney then is outraged at the fact and says he would not support the gate. He would do the opposite and lobby against her. Kyra then is heading back to the Da Ros’ to lock up, when she is confronted with some graffiti on the wall of the house. It reads “pinche puta”. It is obviously written by the Mexicans who were kicked out by Kyra. Delaney is then playing racquetball at the recreation center when he overhears a conversation that is about Mexicans. Delaney hears Jack Jr.’s voice saying racial slurs and throwing out stereotypes for the Mexicans. Delaney suddenly thinks of Jordan and whether or not he will turn out to be like this. Delaney heads home and on the way he is confronted by a couple who are opposing the wall and wonder if Delaney would be interested in joining them to lobby other people. Delaney says that he will give them a call. Then Delaney sees a man with a backwards hat. The same man that Kyra had described as being on the De Ros property, but here he was running from house to house. Delaney catches up to him and immediately accuses him of theft. The man says he does not know what he was talking about. Then Delaney tells him to open his satchel and show him what was in there. The Mexican opened it and it was filled with fliers from Jack urging all residents to vote pro-wall.


Chapter 7:
The chapter starts with America sitting and waiting for Candido. She waits there for about four hours until he shows up all beaten and bloody. The man offering a room had robbed him of all his money. Candido had followed the man into an alley where a group of four men jumped him and took all of his money. Which totaled to $350. Then Candido and America to walk home and they passed the cafe they ate at when they first got to Canoga Park. Candido leads her into the back of a KFC where he rummages in the dumpster for thrown out food.

Chapter 8:
The chapter starts with Delaney letting the wall people in to wall up the backyard. The community has decided it would be a good idea to have a wall around the premises to keep out wildlife as well as robbers. Then Delaney escorts Kyra to the Da Ros’ because she needs to lock up. Delaney has to go with her ever since the graffiti incident. They stop by the grocery store on the way home and get some things for Thanksgiving dinner for which Kyra’s mother is coming to town. They get to the register and the cashier asks them if they want their free turkey. She explains that if the total is over $50 then you got a free turkey. They take it and head home. Candido then took over the chapter. He was waiting outside the post office hoping that someone would offer him a job. After a couple days Senor Willis a drunken old man offers him a job. He works for Senor Willis all week making about $64 a day. He works for him for a while and gains close to $500. Thanksgiving comes up and Candido is given the weekend off although he did not really know why. He heads to the supermarket to buy a couple of forties of beer and some other things. He waits in the line to buy his things behind a couple of gabachos. They are offered a turkey and then ask Candido if he wants it. The cashier will not let them just give the turkey to Candido so they just wait for him to check out. After he checks out the Gabachos lay the turkey on his hands and Candido is the happiest man. He runs from the store back to home to show America. She is thrilled by the turkey and happy for the first time in a long time.


Part 3
Chapter 1:
It is thanksgiving and Delaney and the family are headed to Dominick Flood’s house for a party. Kit Menaker, Kyra’s mother, is with them and once she has seen the house and the party she immediately starts hitting on Flood. She does not know however that he is a convict and a prisoner. They are there until four o’clock when somebody gets on the table and announces that a fire breaks out in the canyon. Kyra gets Delaney and her mother and hurry them to the car to go home and get Jordan. They get home turn on the TV and load up the car just in case they have to flee the house. The fire is headed strait for Arroyo Blanco the newscast said and that was all Kyra needed to jump in the car and spend the night away from the house.


Chapter 2:
The chapter starts off with America miserable as always laying in the canyon. All she does during the day now is sit and sleep. She finally forgives Candido for taking her to the North (the U.S.). When he comes home with the beer bottles and the turkey she is delighted. However when Candido starts cooking the turkey he sets the fire too high, and the tree next to it burst into flames causing a fire in the canyon. Candido was terrified for his and America’s lives when the fire started and ran her over the water hole and up the hill then down another one. They run for about five minutes until they get far enough away from the fire. They sit down and Candido curses his bad luck. America on the other hand is about to deliver her baby. Candido runs off to find someone to help with the baby and America was left there alone. All she has with her was a Siamese cat that had just come up the mountain.


This is a typical California Brush Fire
Chapter 3:
Delaney and Kyra have retreated with the rest of Arroyo Blanco to a safe spot away from the fires. They are all there, Dominick, Jack, Jack Jr., and also the Mexican with the backwards hat and another Mexican showed up. All the people instantly start blaming the Mexicans for the fire. What should have been nothing turned into a small riot. First Delaney goes up to them and accuses them of starting the fire then jack and others pitch in by calling them wetbacks and other racial slurs. Then Delaney goes up to the officers and tells them that he saw the Mexicans near to where the fire started this morning. The officers then talk to the Mexicans who in return give a dirty look to Delaney. Delaney pounces on the guy, who happens to be in cuffs, by the officer and starts hitting him in the face. More racial slurs are yelled then the fight ends. The fires retreat short of Arroyo Blanco. Kyra, Delaney, Jordan and Kit return back to the house and unpack the car. Thanksgiving was ruined, but Dominick Flood left a little present in Kit’s purse. The device that sends a signal to the monitoring people to make sure he couldn’t escape. Jordan appears then from the backyard and says that their Siamese cat, Dame Edith is missing.


Chapter 4:
The chapter starts with America clutching the cat as she is pushing the baby out. The baby then comes out and Candido has his proudest moment seeing his son being born. Then he looks closer and sees it is a girl. He is astonished and shocked. America on the other hand already named the baby Socorro. In the morning Candido hops over a large stucco wall into a garden and swiftly steals some fruits and vegetables along with some tools. He needs to build a shelter for two reasons, one for America and the baby, and the second is for him to escape from being seen by the police and helicopters. (He is paranoid about getting caught for setting the wild fires.) He starts building a little shelter where there was an indent in the rock of the hill. He gets wood pallets from a shed and nails from another. After a while he gets America and the baby to walk up to the shelter to hide from the helicopters. Then he goes over the wall again to get a roof. He finds a plastic sheet on top of a greenhouse and then he runs to the next yard where there was a stepladder to jump over the wall. Candido then realizes that the house he was at was the house that he set the posts for while working a while back. He scurries over the wall and is off to the shelter.


Chapter 5:
Kyra starts the chapter on her way to the Da Ros’ to check if the rumors were right that it did get burned down. She got past the gate and saw nothing but the tall chimneys and ash. The chapter skips to Delaney who is Kit off at the airport. Then Delaney is home for the bad news about the Da Ros’ and he tries to comfort Kyra but she is in a rage about how the damn Mexicans started this. They took a walk before dinner to try to fine there cat Dame Edith but on their way Jack stopped them and told them he had to show them something. He took them to the entrance gate where in graffiti was some weird language. Delaney later decided he would stake out the area each night with a booby-trapped camera and his binoculars. He finally got a picture one night and he went to a friend’s house to get it developed. The image he saw in the camera was the man that he hit that day way back when.


Chapter 6:
Candido starts out the chapter searching for the money he hid near the canyon. He gets to his spot and with his luck all the money is burned. He heads back to the shelter and America says that she needs money to go back to Mexico. He replies that there is none. Then America discovers that the baby is blind. She is deeply upset about this although she does not tell Candido. Candido then goes to the post office to wait for Senor Willis to employ him. After three times of being kicked out by post office employees he gives up. Then on the way back from the post office a man shouts at him “you, you stay right there!”
Chapter 7:
Delaney had been driving down the highway when he saw Candido. He immediately told him to stop to no prevail. Candido just starts to run away back to his shelter. Delaney with his cell phone calls the police. They show up make a report and then leave. Delaney then Claris after Candido because his brand new car is hit while he is on the phone with the police. Kyra on the other hand is picking up Jordan at a friends house, which she could not find. On the way there she sees a for sale by owner sign that takes her to this magnificent house. It was ten times the Da Ros house so she goes to the door and says she is interested in buying the house. Delaney had done a good job of finding the footprints and following them. He passes his complex and goes in to get a gun. Then he gets six more pictures that were taken, and takes them to the friends to get developed. The first one surprised him. They were of Jack Jr. and an accomplice spray painting the wall, but that does not matter to him. He is off to find the Mexican now. He leaves his house with a flashlight and a gun and the search begins for Candido.


Chapter 8:
Candido gets back to the shelter in a mess. The man that hit him shortly after they arrived in the U.S. had just yelled at him. There America breaks the news to Candido that his daughter is blind. Then all of a sudden a gabacho is at the door. Delaney found the shelter without a problem. He had just gotten there though, when a terrific surf could be heard, the next thing he knew he had been swept up off his feet by a mud slide. In the end Candido had surfaced and saw America. They yell for each other and America grabs Candido out of the water. They ask each other where the baby is and they both do not have it. Then Candido sees the Gabacho’s hand under water. He reaches down and grabs it.

This is a diagram of a typical mud slide like the one in the novel