Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Slaughterhouse-Five and Tortilla Curtain Book Circles

Please have at least two members of your book circle comment here about your latest meeting. You should report on the ideas your group discussed, as well as on the quality of your group process. Feel free to record questions your group was unable to answer, as students from the other AP Lit classes will be reading and responding to your comments. When you comment, please include both the title of your book and the pages you read for your last discussion. Please post your comments withing 24 hours after the book circle meeting.

In addition, at least two members of your book circle should visit the blogs of the other AP Lit classes and respond to their comments. Please complete this within 24 hours after the other students post.


Blogger Kylee L said...

Slaughterhouse-Five (pgs. 1-86)

In our book circle meeting we discussed how Slaughterhouse-Five is based on the experiences of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut's goal is to portray the war and a lot of his portrayal of it is through the character Billy Pilgrim. It is ironic that Billy is one of the few men who survived the Battle of the Bulge since he is the least fit to be a soldier. Our group discussed how eyes might be an important motif. Billy is an optometrist and it seems like he is the only one that understands and sees how time works. Our group feels that there is not a lot to discuss yet but after some more reading we will understand more and it will be easier to discuss what is going on.

Wed Mar 21, 06:36:00 PM 2007  
Blogger  said...

Ch 1-3

Today our group discussed many things including clarifying details and possible motifs in the novel.

We pointed out many humorous points in the novel including: how he emphasized his changing of the names, he crayon inspired novel ouline, his drunk dialing and his simple and amusing statements of life in general.

We clarified that he is in fact Billy Pilgrim and is telling the story about himself.
Some possible motifs in the novel are:
-Adam and Eve
-being "unstuck in time" or time travel
-"So it goes"
-The Three Musketeers

We discussed his war companion's little Eiffel Tower souvenir and how he treasured it over precious gems.

I also thought it was interesting that he refers to himself as resembling a "filthy flamingo". This shows his outlook on war and how it was truly a "Children's Crusade".

Wed Mar 21, 06:38:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Dayna Z said...

The Tortilla Curtain – pg. 1-120 (through Chap. 7)

I thought we had a really good discussion today where we really analyzed the book on a deeper level than just trying to clarify the basic plot (the book is pretty easy to understand on a surface level, but there is a lot beneath the surface). We talked about how hypocritical Delaney is with his humanitarian, uber-liberal views contradicted by his horrible regard for the Mexicans. We talked about how the gated community could represent America, and Boyle criticizes how everyone has to conform. One major piece of the book is the idea that everyone stereotypes other people, such as how the Americans view the Mexicans as filthy and dangerous to their perfect society, but the Mexicans simultaneously fear the Americans who trash their camp and harass the character América. We also talked about how the character América along with the nation America both represent the power of women, and we thought it was interesting (and sad) that Kyra and América have equally strong wills, but that Kyra was blessed with a better position in life (Kyra is a real estate agent who thinks of numerous gorgeous houses as her own while América can’t even get a roof over her head, let alone get the house of her dreams). Finally, the book criticizes how people try to shut out the “problems” in their society (like building a gate) without realizing that the evil is inherent in their own society (Jack Jr., who trashes the Mexicans’ camp, lives in their “perfect” world).

Wed Mar 21, 07:03:00 PM 2007  
Blogger ChristyH said...

"Slaughterhouse-Five" pgs. 1-87
Though there wasn't much to discuss thus far in the book, we talked about the first chapter and how Vonnegut starts his novel from a first person point of view about his experiences and writing about the war. We thought he included this as a chapter to maybe show the profound effect it had on his life and the big part it played. I noticed the irony in the “Three Musketeers” and how Weary built that up for his own pride, yet he ended up dying as a prisoner of war. I thought this showed the irony in war itself how a lot of soldiers fight for pride, which ends up leaving them helpless in the end. Also, my group discussed the quote at the very end of chapter four when Vonnegut discusses free will on earth. He says, “Only on Earth is there any talk of free will” (86). We thought this was important because even the Tralfamadorians, or the “outsiders” (who they represent we weren’t quite sure) know that earth itself gives life with choices and opportunity. Though people on earth fight, they are all connected by their free will.

Our group also discussed a possible motif of the optometrists and vision and eyes. We also thought it was interesting how Billy Pilgrim’s abductors could see the past, present, and future. Also, we thought that when Billy was rewinding the video, it was him rewinding the war in his head so he could remember and relive all the visions he has of the war.

Wed Mar 21, 08:35:00 PM 2007  
Blogger kjohnst said...

In response to Christy's post, our group (SH 5)also covered similar topics - we talked about free will for quite some time, and I particularly liked where Vonnegut says, "some of the things that Billy could not change were the past, present, and future." We were wondering if his coming "unstuck" in time was merely cowardice due to his wish to escape his current situation, or if he truly was apathetic. How can man thrive (or survive) if he does not even look out for himself? The reason he and Weary become POWs is because Weary has to drag Billy along; he won't even take responsibility for his own life. The rewinding documentary also tied in to free will - forwards, the planes wreak havoc and cause death and destruction, but backwards they remove desolation from the cities, repair the shot planes, and disassemble the bombs. Vonnegut here says that we, as humans, have come so far from those innocent Adam and Eve origins. We create our world, and though a war may seem inevitable, we, ultimately, control our past, present, and future. We have the ability to remove the destruction from the world, yet we choose not to. This also fits with the eating motif, where he says that the theoretically dead bodies were still eating. We think this contradictory statement translates to mean that though soldiers are continually dying throughout the war, the war itself only gains momentum and gets stronger. It is still consuming.

Wed Mar 21, 09:23:00 PM 2007  
Blogger MeganF said...

Tortilla Curtain p. 1-120

Well Dayna pretty much covered everything, but to expand on our conversation, we really focused on the irony in the book and the contradicting lifestyles the two families live. For example, it is ironic that Kyra is real estate agent who owns several houses while the other female in the novel, America, is working her whole life towards the goal of living under a single roof. It is also interesting that Delaney who obsessed with the outdoors and loves nature, while the Mexicans who live in the middle of Delaney's passion long for a home. Finally, there was irony in the fact that the white people are so obsessed with gating their community to protect it from illegal immigrants, but the white people destroy the set-up camp of the Mexicans. They are acting in the same way they fear the immigrants to act.

Wed Mar 21, 09:49:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Jesse said...

In response to Rachel,
Similar to your "flaming flamingo" reference, there are several other references to birds and animals in general. There is the bird that goes "poo-tee-weet?" and the owl that morphs into the optometer. And the beginning of Chapter 3 mentions a German Shepard who "had never been to war before. She had no idea what game was being played.” Thus far, animals are often puzzled at humans and such extravagant wars and massacres become mere silly actions in their eyes. Perhaps they will evolve into prominent motifs.
You also mentioned how the characters treasured souvenirs.
Our group also discussed the importance of tiny objects that often allow soldiers to be comforted or to escape just a little. I also found that photos appeared several times. Contrasting with being unstuck with time, photos are a way to capture a certain moment.

Wed Mar 21, 10:26:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Meghan L said...

In response to Rachel's blog:

Our group also focused on the satirical/humorous aspect of the novel. In situations where we, as the audience would typically feel pain or sorrow for the misfortunes of the characters, we actually feel the desire to laugh. We especially like the way Vonnegut skips around in his novel, we like that it goes back, providing the audience insight and also creating a desire to know more about how the characters wind up where they are now.

Like Kylee also, we are excited to read further and discover more symbolism and delve into discussing all the subjects raised in the book.


Thu Mar 22, 12:23:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Mick said...

In response to Dayna and Megan on Tortilla Curtain (p 1-120)

My group also looked into the deeper meaning of the book. One member recognized the motif of the coyote. In both cases, as a person who helps others cross the border illegally and an animal, the character is dangerous. Interesting the coyote kills the dog and also the “coyote” that helps Mexican across the border kills their hopes of crossing the border. Both coyotes find a way around the obstacle in order to find a more fruitful life. Additionally, the parallel between an Iron Curtain and Tortilla Curtain came up. Both symbolize a society’s attempt to stop the migration and emigration in and out of a nation. It also symbolizes the ageless attempt of one race trying to stop another race from polluting its population. Since tortilla is associated with Mexico, some American’s look down upon it as an inferior food. However, in the book it seems, as Dayna pointed out that the discrimination is levied against both the Anglo and Mexican culture. I thought one comment in particular really got to an important meaning of the book: Prosperity is built on the backs of others. I believe that T.C. Boyle shows the extremes of both the Americans and Mexicans in order to start a discussion between both cultures on the impact both positive and negative of immigration. Finally, I thought this quote was very interesting: “to ply the brush and pour the corrosive and make every Buddha in the room shine as if it had just emerged from the mold” (94). America, probably a Catholic, must make her money polishing Buddha statues. Even further its shows globalizations grip over the world and again shows that prosperity is built upon the backs of the less fortunate.

Thu Mar 22, 07:22:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Terry Sale said...

Hello to the Slaughterhouse-Five groups --
I found it interesting to read that "there wasn't much to discuss" in 87 pages of reading! If nothing else, I would hope some of the humor was memorable. However, S-5 is easier to discuss when you've read the whole thing. I like the observation that there might be an "eye" motif in the novel.

Thu Mar 22, 09:04:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Terry Sale said...

And to the Tortilla Curtain group --
You seem to be in tune with the ironies of the book and the significance of some of the characters. I'd be interested to read some of your thoughts about the writing style of Boyle's novel.

Thu Mar 22, 09:06:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Chapters 1-3

In our book circle we discussed Billy's sense of time. Time seems to be a very prominent theme in the novel. Billy seems to be trying to define time. He discusses that to the aliens time isn't anything important. Billy seems to want to live his life in such a way that time doesn't matter. Vonnegut seems to be criticizing the world's view of time and how time is viewed. We also talked about how humorous the random changes from memory to memory are. It makes the reader laugh because it changes from war to driving down the road. We also thought that it was interesting that we have yet to get the plot as to what happened in Dresden. It seems clouded by other menial details or stories about him falling asleep at work for example. We think that this will play a significant role in the development of Vonnegut's criticism as the we get further into the book.

Fri Mar 23, 02:34:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Chapters 1-3

In our book circle we discussed Billy's sense of time. Time seems to be a very prominent theme in the novel. Billy seems to be trying to define time. He discusses that to the aliens time isn't anything important. Billy seems to want to live his life in such a way that time doesn't matter. Vonnegut seems to be criticizing the world's view of time and how time is viewed. We also talked about how humorous the random changes from memory to memory are. It makes the reader laugh because it changes from war to driving down the road. We also thought that it was interesting that we have yet to get the plot as to what happened in Dresden. It seems clouded by other menial details or stories about him falling asleep at work for example. We think that this will play a significant role in the development of Vonnegut's criticism as the we get further into the book.

Fri Mar 23, 02:39:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Aly A. said...

The Tortilla Curtain (part 1)
In response to Dayna and Megan...
Our group also discussed the power of Kyra and America and their role as women in the book. We thought it was interesting that Kyra was so caught up in her work that she never had time for her son, and that because she was trying so hard to keep him healthy, she was pushing him away at the same time and making him a nintendo-playing couch potatoe. She sacrifices their relationship for a career, and acts like having a son is more of an obligation than a privilege. On the other hand, America works and sacrifices her safety and dignity everyday so that her unborn child might have a chance at a decent life. We also spent a lot of time discussing how Candido and America cherish each other so much more than Kyra and Delaney do because they are literally all that the other has. Their love is so much more pure and real and not based on shared political views and superficial things like money. However, as America begins to make her own money and sees that she can survive without Candido, their love suffers and she becomes more selfish and ungrateful for her husband. We also talked a lot about what the book is saying about what characterizes a good person. We thought that the book was hinting that a good person is someone who is selfless and truly cares about the needs of others. A good person is also someone that is honest with themselves and the people they come in contact with in everything they do. They don't change when it is convenient for them, but stick to their beliefs no matter what happens. But then we were left thinking, who are we to judge?

Fri Mar 23, 04:15:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Terry Sale said...

SlaughterHouse 5
Chapters 1-3

We discussed how the seemingly erratic flow of the style reflects the erratic bombing of Dresden. We also talked about how "So it goes" is the Tralfamadorian response after learning someone has passed away. All the names have been changed, yet the names are repeated quite a bit, and how during war, soldiers get very close to one another, sharing secrets they might not have even told their wives, but out of the war situation, they don't really know each other. When the narrator talks about the bag and what people took out of the bag signified how different things are significant to different people. Finally, we related the anti-glacier book and the Yon Yonson poem that war, glaciers or the Yon Yonson poem will never cease and it is pretty pointless to write about (especially according to Mary O'Hare).
(Posted for Brianna C by Mr. Sale)

Mon Apr 02, 09:21:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Steph said...

April 2, 2007
Slaughterhouse Five
Chapters 4-7

Today, a major topic of discussion in our group was how Vonnegut portrays himself and his ideas through the novel. After the first three chapters, a lot of us thought that perhaps Vonnegut renamed himself as "Billy Pilgrim" for the purose of the novel. In this week's reading, we found that this was false when Billy finds Vonnegut "$h*+ ing" his brains out in the latrine in the prison camp.

Okay, so we were wrong. After the discussion we decided that Vonnegut used this novel to get some of his ideas across. I looked up some information on Vonnegut to come to discussion with. Vonnegut was actually in the fire bombing of Dresden.

I was also good to find out where the title of the book came from. I think that the title is significant because the climax of the novel, the firebombing of Dresden, happens when Billy and some of the other prisoners are in Slaughterhouse-Five.

Vision is also an important concept in this novel. Billy is an optometrist. He talks about the strange placement of the eyes of the Trafalmadorian creatures and the way they SEE time. Time is another important concept, perhaps not a motif. It is interesting how Vonnegut uses time, like the pendulum of a clock, swinging back and forth, to tell the story.

Mon Apr 02, 07:33:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Justin said...

April 2, 2007
Tortilla Curtain Response
Through Part II

Our group discussed a myriad of different issues including the amount of symbolism that Boyle placed within the writing of his novel. On the surface, we agreed that this book is a good story, with decent writing, but what makes it a powerful book is the meaningful symbolism hidden in the plain language of Boyle. The creation of the wall around Arroyo Heights seemed to contain a great deal of symbolism that showed the United States’ thinking in a understandable realm, arguing the silliness of the true practicality of the wall, by introducing the step stool for that matter. The wall is supposed to protect the community, but if Delaney can use a step stool to get outside of the wall to nature, can’t someone get in using the same method. Jack’s stance on this issue showed irony as well, in that he desperately wanted to keep illegal immigrants out, however he employed them in building the wall, showing America’s actual dependence of the presence and work of the immigrants in this country. Delaney’s coyote essay further substantiates the idea that this novel is about immigration, in that coyotes attack the Delaney’s household in both the animal realm and the human realm, as coyotes are illegal immigrants and their shippers. We noted the symbolism of the Da Ros place, however we are not yet sure of what is really means in Kyra’s world, how does that play into the story of the American dream? Boyle also seems to be satirizing the American political environment, in that every one has an opinion, such as Delaney, but few act, seen in Delaney’s refusal to actively campaign against the building of the wall. We noticed how Boyle stuck the extremes of society in his characters, showing how Americans and Immigrants never really see the rational middle ground that can exist, but only the polar opposites that create tension and problems. These are some of the main issues are group touched on during the discussion today.

Mon Apr 02, 09:13:00 PM 2007  
Blogger KatieF said...

Rachel <3,

I never realized about the Three Musketeers motif! Wow, how cool!

Tue Apr 03, 08:57:00 AM 2007  
Blogger read t said...

Response to Tortilla Curtain Group.

Greetings from Mr. Kleeman’s class. I liked your pointing out the symbolism involved with the Da Ros place and how to Kyra it seems to embody the ideal home. Again, Boyle gets back to the theme of immigration in the section where Kyra encounters the two Mexicans on the property. Her serine oasis has been invaded and it is too much for her. Our group wondered why the Mexicans didn’t treat her the same way as they treated America. Kyra somewhat feared they might rape her, but they didn’t. Is it simply because she’s an American? They did, after all, stain her ideal place with an obscenity. Good job pointing out the satire of Americans who have an opinion, but aren’t willing to campaign for it. That’s definitely a big part of this book. Our group also talked about the lack of community in both cultures; Mexicans rape and rob each other while Americans are so divided by their fences and air-conditioned houses. We also picked up on the coyote motif and I’m interested to see where it will go.

Tue Apr 03, 04:13:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Amy said...

Slaughterhouse-5 (86-161)
First of all, our group decided that these events are actually happening to Billy Pilgrim, and that it is not just his imagination. We also noticed that the Tralfamadorian perspective seems to ignore the bad and focus on the good. This is how Billy deals with the war, and life in general, and it's how he suggests the rest of the "earthlings" deal with hard times. For example, on page 121, the epitaph reads, "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt." This takes Edgar Derby's life and looks at the best possible moment in order to sum it up, rather than focusing on the bad or even averaging the good and bad. We also wondered if Vonnegut tried to write his book the way that Tralfamadorian books are written, in a single moment, but with images and people coming together to create an emotion. And finally, we looked at the four-line blurb at the beginning of the book about Jesus' birth, and wondered what relevance this has to the novel. Does "no crying he makes" mean that He knew what would happen and didn't worry about the bad, like Billy? Hopefully we'll find answers to some of these questions later in the novel.

Tue Apr 03, 05:14:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Megan M said...

Tortilla Curtain: Response

Our group also discussed many of the topics Dayna and Megan mentioned, but I wanted to add what we discussed regarding Jack Jr. and Jordan. We thought it was interesting how little effort Kyra and Delaney put into making their son a "good" person, focusing only on what he eats and not caring that he has a couch glued to him and even being proud of the hand-eye coordination he gains from all those video games. Also, Jack Jr. is not the perfect miniature of his father that all of the adults see him as, as is revealed in the conversation Delaney overhears about Mexican women; Delaney recognizes that this is what Jordan will become, but he notes that there is nothing he can do about and it doesn't really seem to upset him very much. We then talked about how since in non-satirical novels, youth often represent unmasked purity and innocence, where here, they represent the unmasked version of the society in Arroyo Blanco; all are racist, but only Jack Jr. is obvious about it, and all lack appreciation or meaning in their lives, but only Jordan demonstrates it.

Tue Apr 03, 10:58:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Emma VanV said...

Slaughterhouse-five (pgs 72-135)

I really like what you guys discussed about the story possibly being written like the books written by the Tralfamadorians. Our group kindof went in a different direction with the perspective the Tralfamadorians have on life though. Instead of veiwing them as optomistic creatures, we felt that they could be more representative of the inaction or ignorance that people may have had during and after the war. For example, when Billy says something "stupid" the Tralfamadorians simply close their hands over their eyes. we felt that this left them useless because now they could neither see nor act. The fact that they also had no interest in trying to shape their future and prevent the destruction of the universe added to their ignorance.

Tue Apr 03, 11:02:00 PM 2007  
Blogger  said...

Ch 4-7

In response the Amy's blog, I really liked the idea that Vonnegut is trying the mimic the writing style of the Trafalmadorians with images of single moments to create an emotion. This experience obviously was life-changing for Billy as he seems to adopt some of their ideas and ways of life. But the Trafalmadorians seem to have a fake happiness which reminded me of Brave New World. Billy outrightly states his unwillingness to marry Valencia but does so anyway and stays with her because he has seen their marriage being "at least bearable all the way" (120). The way the Trafalmadorians live are definitely not human because humans have no concept of time travel or the ability to ignore the bad, so it might be dangerous that Billy has become like them.

Also I wanted to point out the many references to Cinderella although I have not yet discovered the relevance of this motif..

Wed Apr 04, 10:00:00 AM 2007  
Blogger sarahg said...

For the second group discussion (through p. 154) of Slaughterhouse Five:

First of all, I would like to applaud Steph for going above and beyond what any other student in our class would do... but I thought it was pretty clear that Vonnegut was actually in the fire-bombing of Dresden, and that he was not Billy Pilgrim. It is, however, important to know a little bit about an author's past or writing style to fully understand his purpose or meaning. This is also true in our poetry presentations. Anyway, I have read "Cat's Cradle", which is also by Kurt Vonnegut, and he also uses extreme and even science fiction-like means to create his satires.

In our book circle on Monday, we talked about the purpose of the Tralfamadorians. Why are they so important? Obviously, they introduce the time-travelling idea, which is satirizing the American obsession with time? Is he contrasting the Tralfamadorians with warring nations, or comparing them to them? The fact that the Tralfamadorians say "So it goes" each time they hear about a death makes it seem like they are more like pro-war humans, who Vonnegut thinks are insensitive to death. To really answer the question "What is the purpose of the Tralfamadorians and their travelling in time" we need to finish the book.

We also discussed the constant eye imagery within the novel. It must be important that Billy is an optometrist, because Vonnegut mentions his profession so often.

I know that I am supposed to be blogging about the second chunk of reading, but I have to say that I LOVED the beginning of Slaughterhouse Five. It was just so funny, I can't even explain why, really. I found it so entertaining! It jumped all over the place, but still managed to move smoothly... and I loved how Vonnegut tells the reader exactly how the book will begin, and exactly how it will ends (It really does end like he said, I checked). He just seems like a really quirky, funny guy.

Basically, Billy represents a group or idea that Vonnegut is satirizing, and the Tralfamadorians represent a group of idea that Vonnegut is satirizing--maybe they are the same, maybe different. We will have to continue reading to figure it out.

Wed Apr 04, 11:05:00 PM 2007  
Blogger chennery said...

Slaughterhouse Five
Last discussion, 4-13

In our discussion today, we tried to tackle the big ideas in this book. We debated whether Vonnegut used Billy Pilgrim and the Trafalmadorians to criticize them, or criticize the way everyone else is towards war. The aliens and the way Billy appears so apathetic about all that has happened in his life are both absurd topics, so some of us thought that Vonnegut employed this absurdity to expose the absurdity of war. We thought that Billy is the opposite of Vonnegut in dealing with the war. Perhpas it was too hard to write the book through his own perspective, so he used a very apathetic character to express his ideas. This idea is partially articulated on page 168, when he says that a robot is not accepted for his bad breath. Once he fixes that, people overlook how he bombs and kills others. As society, Vonnegut denounces war and its supporters, that halitosis is more unacceptable to people than dropping bombs.

He also made the reader apathetic. He explains the climax and purpose of the novel in the first chapter so we are not surprised by anything that happens. At parts, I even laughed out loud, though it is a war novel. This supports the other idea that Vonnegut wishes he could be more like his main character and not be so affected by the things he has seen. He mentions on page 8 that he learned in college that "there was absolutely no difference between anybody," as he explained to his father the lack of villains in his novel, though it's a war story. Vonnegut never expresses anger towards the enemy or those that dropped the bombs on Dresden.

Overall, we thought the book was very interesting and amusing.

Fri Apr 13, 02:40:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Kelly said...

Tortilla Curtain

end of the book

We started with the last line of the novel in which Candido saves Delaney from the mudslide. Boyle illustrates that when the prejudices and hatred forged by society is stripped away, the instinct of survival and helping one’s fellows becomes apparent. There is some hope in this. We do not think that Boyle criticizes inter-cultural biases as unnatural, he simply illustrates the dichotomy of human nature and reminds his readers of the inherent and enduring good in even the most desperate of people.

Our next topic of discussion was America’s baby. Throughout her pregnancy, America’s baby was a symbol of hope. This child would be a citizen with the opportunities of all Americans. However, the reality of the “American dream” raped her, leaving her, and her baby, visionless. Soccora’s blindness also represents the hate that divides the races. Delaney refused to see that Jack Jr. was the cause of the graffiti. Even with photographic evidence in his hand, he chose to ignore the Mexican’s innocence and find him guilty of everything in the court of his own mind. Soccora’s blindness speaks to the continuing racism through posterity, born of the atrocities of the past.

We liked that the book had an open ending, because immigration is a present issue. There cold be no closure because no one knows what will happen.

A strong irony in this book is the idea of escaping into freedom. The Mexicans want to jump over the “wall” to find a better opportunity. The rich man on house arrest escaped away from the amenities the Mexicans desire to the other side of the wall. Boyle depicts liberty as the driving force behind immigration and emigration.

Sat Apr 14, 02:47:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Sarah A said...

Tortilla Curtain response

We also talked about the last image of the book where Candido grabs Delaney's hand and rescues him, and pretty much came to the same conclusions as you guys. We thought the image was meant to be hopeful because it foreshadows some cooperation between the two races instead of constant divisions. The whole theme of the novel is pretty much summed up in that last image because it suggests that the only way toward progress is cooperation, as the book really demonstrates that self-imposed segregation did no good for either of the races.

We also talked about how the real tragedy of the book is symbolized by Soccorro's blindness because it represents how all the racial tensions adversely affect coming generations. Cross-cultural hatred (represented by the half-a-gringo man) raped America of her hope and vision, and its her blind baby who pays the price. Boyle does a good job of getting the point across that the worst tragedy is that people are leaving their kids with legacies of mistrust and hatred and that the problems will only escalate over time without cooperation.

Sat Apr 14, 09:48:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Sean K said...

Sean Kearns
Additional Responses to Tortilla Curtain ending

It is interesting that at the end of the novel Delaney and Candido are at the same level – their homes washed away in the mudslide.

Delaney shows the unhealthy obsession people have with illegal immigration because he distances himself from his work to find the graffiti writers and he is willing to run after Candido in the middle of a storm. Also as Delaney tracks down Candido, Boyle describes it as if Delaney is hunting down an animal. He no longer sees the individuals behind illegal immigrants. In the end, Delaney’s views mimic Jack’s and I believe the author wants use to ask ourselves if he is justified. For example, could you blame him for being angry after seeing two people flee the scene of the wild fire? However, with the ending Delaney could have a change of heart.

The ending also leaves the reader wondering about Kyra. Is she sick of structured realtor lifestyle and because of this she wants to buy a house in the real countryside. After all, in this section she is no longer concerned with picking up her son at a specific time. Or has she not changed at all and simply wants to make a profit.

Sun Apr 15, 04:28:00 PM 2007  

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