Preface

This group of essay’s is dedicated to environmentalism and the importance of saving our environment. This class has not only expanded my knowledge on how to be environmentally conscious, but also my ability to inform others who are interested in the same social issues. The overall theme of my blog posts is to help raise awareness of certain environmental issues within our society.

Each blog post has something uniquely in common, they each consist of a picture of my 2014 trip to Muir Woods in San Francisco, California. This trip inspired a lot of my writing for most of my bog posts. Muir Woods is a beautiful National Monument that has been preserved by the National Park Service for many years. It has been protected by the government thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt who declared it a National Monument on January 9, 1908. It is named after naturalist John Muir, even though the original suggest name was the Kent  Monument.

The main attraction of the park are the beautiful Sequoia Sempervirnes trees, more commonly known as the Coastal Redwoods. The National Monument itself is a Coastal Redwood Forest. The tallest tree in the forest is 258 feet high and the oldest tree is 1.200 years old.

The trip my family took to the Redwood Forest inspired my entire family to become more environmental conscious. It was the beginning steps for us to realize that our actions have consequences in the long run. To be in the forest surrounded by all the Redwood trees, the birds, fish, and all the other animals that make the forest their home is truly an other worldly experience. Being able to place my hand on the bark of a tree that has been alive for hundreds of years was an experience I will never forget. To be deep in the forest completely surrounded by the trees with no technology was an eye opening experience. It gave my family a chance to enjoy being outdoors with no stress of work or other outside influences bothering us. To be able to be separated from technology and industry from the outside world also gave my family a chance to step back and appreciate all that nature has to offer. It is truly a shame that our society is constantly finding new reasons to cut down more trees and pollute our air and water sources, if we do not change these bad habits soon we will find ourselves in a trash filled world.

Our Writing in an Endangered World course this semester has only made these problems stand out more, whether it was learning it through informational texts like Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring, or through novel’s like T.C Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain. All the information we were able to require only makes our generation realize even more the great lengths we must take to slowly start saving our environment. At the beginning of the course I was very unaware of how many current issues were happening involving our environment, and becoming aware has been a long and frustrating process. As we come to the end of the course I hope to encourage not only myself in continuing to stay environmentally conscious, but to spread the word to many others, how important it is to realize that we only have one beautiful environment, and if we destroy it we will never be able to get it back.

 

 

The Wall Between Two Worlds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain is an environmental novel that displays the lives of  two very different married couples and their day to day struggles. Kyra and Delaney are a very self obsessed couple. They constantly obsess about being safe from the Mexicans that lurk in their neighborhood. Kyra and Delaney have experienced many abuses to their neighborhood including graffiti by the accused Mexicans as well as verbal abuse. The many men that represent the Mexicans in this novel are all illegal immigrants that are forced to live off the land because of their inability to make enough money. Kyra and Delaney are also faced with many of nature’s obstacles including the coyotes who attacked and murder both of their dogs.  Their experiences lead them to become obsessed with their own safety.

This is ironic when America and Candido’s lives are compared to Kyra and Delaney’s. America and Candido are from Tijuana and are forced to live in extreme circumstances out in the wilderness because of their lack of money. They are discriminated against which makes it very difficult for them to find steady work. They live in a shack made of branches and poorly made material out in the woods, in hopes of saving enough money to someday buy an apartment with running water and a bedroom. America and Candido’s struggles make Kyra and Delaney’s struggles look pathetic. They are forced to endure extreme circumstances and budget themselves with little to no money. Not only are they forced to live off scraps of food, but they encounter many different enemies while simply trying to survive off the land in the canyon. One unfortunate encounter they have is one day when America is off at work and Candido is forced to stay in their make shift home because of being hit by Delaney’s car.

Candido hides himself in the bushes while white men storm into his home and destroy all his belongings including tarring up America’s only good dress. Not only are they constantly victims of being discriminated against, whether it is in the grocery store or in their own home but America is also a victim of sexual abuse. While coming home from work one day she was walking down the trail  when approached by two strange men. They forced themselves on her, later on the reader learns that this is the cause of her baby’s blindness disability. America being pregnant and being forced to give birth in a shed in someone’s backyard is one of the main points of my argument. She is in danger of causing harm to her  body and her baby. In my opinion, this is the most extreme case of a dangerous situation that Candido and America have been placed in. Neither of them are doctors and are unaware of how to properly care for her or the baby in this situation. Luckily thanks to their experience of living in such extreme conditions, Candido is able to pull together anything that he might need to attempt to care for America and their baby. Boyle writes, “It was the moment Candido had been waiting for. He leaned forward  with a knife and cut the blue cord that was  like a length of a sausage and with a rag dipped in water wiped the mess from the tiny limbs and torso” (T.C Boyle 297). It is very ironic how much more dangerous Candido and America’s lives are yet Kyra and Delaney are the ones obsessed with their safety.

Kyra and Delany come from a very different world then Candido and America do. Kyra and Delaney have a lot of privilege because of their citizenship and material possessions. A reoccurring theme in this novel is racism, represented mostly by Delaney and other white characters. Kyra and Delaney are blind to the abundance of food, clothes, and shelter they are giving access too, making Candido and America’s situation seem even more severe. Candido and America are constantly working, whether it is for money or to preserve what they have of their shelter in the woods. They do not have access to the same kind of luxuries that Kyra and Delaney do because they are not citizens. They are forced to do what it takes to survive, putting them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to trying to find a decent place to live. They have no control when white people come and destroy their home in the woods, and are unable to call for help when Candido is hurt, or America is giving birth in fear of being deported. They are forced to live in the moment taking every day as it comes as apposed to Kyra and Delany who are given the pleasure of being to plan out each day as they desire.

Another ironic part of this novel is that both couples live very close in distance to each other but experience drastically different lives. One major goal that both couples have in common is their wish to be happy and live comfortably, even though their definitions of living comfortably are drastically different. The character Delaney is constantly faced with inner struggles with his fellow white citizens. Although he is racist himself, he does not openly acknowledge this and goes against the popular vote to have the wall build around their houses. Delaney tries to prove himself as a humanist but is unable to step away from the generalizations that other citizens also make about the Mexicans.

This novel has a lot to contribute to our understanding of environmentalism. It is able to clearly paint a picture of two very extremely different environmentalists, and the pros and cons of their way of life. This novel shows how are society is in need of finding a balance between these extreme ways of life and how if we continue to fight amongst  ourselves we will be never be able to come together and find ways to help improve our ways of life to benefitting our environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

Us modern day Americans have lost our touch from nature and have become disconnected with the natural world.  We have immersed ourselves in a lifestyle founded upon comfort and have began to destroy the wild Earth we originated from. As we continue to develop the world further away from its original state the environmental issues we face today have only been becoming much worse. While many live in prosperity others struggle to survive daily. Myself and others I know are very privileged to be able to live the life we live. We can do anything we set our minds to and many do not have the ability to do the same. I can travel wherever I want on this Earth, drive to the store and buy whatever I want to eat and drink, and learn about anything that i choose. Although this era we live in is great, there are many complications an American lifestyle causes. We have polluted our planet with trash,  changed the global climate and natural cycles important to all life, and as a result caused the greatest extinction and global heating events our planet has ever seen.

Many believe that nature is a place that we escape to from our reality as a means of a break or vacation. How I see nature is very different, I’ve realized that nature isn’t just the woods surrounding our neighborhoods and cities, nature is the neighborhood and city, nature is a part of every molecule in our universe. When looking at a city squirrel do we exclude it from the natural world as being something unnatural? No, a squirrel is wild just as much as a moose or a polar bear is. Although we have constructed our world into a place fit for humans to survive it must be known that these cities and towns are ecosystems just as much as a vast forest. Creatures of all types reside in our cities and most importantly that’s where we live! But many exclude our own species from the natural world and see us as something different. I for one do not share this perspective, we are just as wild as the animals we may see as “wild” animals. We have originated from the same planet with an equal chance for survival. The only difference is that we may think a bit different than other inhabitants of Earth.

The essays and stories I have read for this class have moved me in a way that will change my perspective of the world forever. I have realized that there are so many things in or world we are destroying that we will never be able to get back. Our actions have caused a great deal of suffering to the native creatures of our planet. But there is no return to the primitive way of life for us humans we have come too far. We understand our actions consequences for others that live on this planet, but yet, we do nothing. The rest of the world must wake up and change the ways in which we live in order to preserve the world for all, including ourselves.

Introduction

One tired morning I sat on my living room couch and stuffed my backpack with algebra 2, American History and Marine Biology textbooks. My bag swelled with the heavy-as-lead books, a graphing calculator, an almost full notepad and a broken protractor. It was my sophomore year of highschool. I put my bag down to tie my shoes and came face to face with a small oil pastel painting. I remember it as crisply as if it were right in front of me—the gentle strokes of color, the smudged edges to accentuate shadows. It was my sister, looking right back at me with shimmering eyes of teal and ocean blue. It was my sister, at least a portrait of my sister, which began to peel back the layer of indecision that clouded my adolescent life.

She knew… That was what I was curious of and even a little bit jealous. My sister knew how to take her deepest thoughts, emotions and experiences and channel them into something that she could see, hold and make her own. I wanted that ability that at the time seemed like a super-hero power. As I sat looking at the portrait, I felt a great swelling desire. The desire for expression and exploration overwhelmed my senses. I needed to find that medium that would free my mind, define my style, and engrave my experiences in the wall of my mind.

 

 

Preface

I have gone through the process of writing and compiling these essays on environmental literature for an English class on environmental writing at Keene State College. Since I have never been acquitted with environmental literature outside of selected works by Henry David Thoreau and other Transcendental writers, I have attempted to draw connections between the literary works I have had the opportunity to read in other classes and the new texts that I have encountered in Dr. Long’s course. During my studies in this class, I have come to realize that in order to acquire a complete understanding of the purpose and importance of environmental writing, it is important to have a historical perspective considering both economic and political situations.

As society continues to face a rising epidemic of global and local environmental concerns such as global warming, pollutions, and shortages of available freshwater, it is important to have citizens who appreciate and are aware of the impact humanity has on the natural environment.

Barriers in TC Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain

In TC Boyle’s novel, The Tortilla Curtain, the wall serves as an important metaphor in both a positive and negative context in relation to society. While a wall can symbolize shelter for something or someone and provide protection from enemy threats, a wall can also become a metaphor for a self-absorbed attitude and withdrawal from the outside world similar to how the inhabitants of the Arroyo Blanco Estates attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the world. Additionally, walls also represent how a fear of outside influences and culture can result in distrust and ignorance.

Physical barriers are a major element in Boyle’s novel. In the scene depicting Candido and Rincon’s illegal crossing of the United States and Mexico border, both illegal immigrants discover that the United States does not offer the kind of safety that they were expecting. Due to their illegal status and the different culture in the states, both travelers were viewed as invaders who should not be accepted into American society. This section of Boyle’s text shows how many Americans view immigrants as a detriment to society since they do not fit into the perceived landscape of an ideal, traditional American culture. In addition to their inability to fit into a new society, the lack of employment opportunities that are capable of providing for a family (even when Candido finds a job). This element of the book shows that the American Dream is not available for all citizens which illustrates the inequality in American society. The inability of Candido and Rincon to find employment is also represented by their living location-Arroyo Blanco Estates can be found in a distant canyon which is a constant reminder of how far away the American Dream truly is.

Society’s conflict with walls and barriers in Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain is also noticeable in the depiction of Delaney’s life in a gated neighborhood and his reluctance to accept the situations that illegal immigrants face in the United States in contrast to Candido’s struggle to realize the authenticity of the American Dream. While both characters come from different economic and social situations, both Delaney and Candido live their lives defined by a physical barrier.

The Humanity of Cancer

On page 58, Williams’ narration details 5-6 separate means of potentially solving the water crisis afflicting the Great Salt Lake, each with it’s own set of pitfalls as well as positivities, both financial as well as otherwise. These parallel both in level of impact upon the afflicted body as well as in number of desirable/feasible options, the anatomical crisis which so centrally plagues Terry’s mother throughout the narration of the memoir.

This parallel of destruction lends itself to a consistent deepening of the ways in which one understands the multiple ramifications of these diseases which affect both the human as well as the land’s “body”. Cancer, as far as humanity can tell, is simply the inability of the cells within an individual’s body to self-detonate at the end of their life cycle, in order to make room for new, developing cells. Now, while natural land masses certainly don’t possess this same characteristic trait of self-maintenance, they are subject to the same finitude of the human body, when met with certain degrees of widespread corrosion & harm with regards to their physical matter. It’s this finitude that both humans as well as their environment are inherently possessive of, which is highlighted by Williams’ mother’s struggle with the disease as well as her own sympathies towards the treatment of the environment around her place of origin.

Circling back a bit towards the idea of cancer; it poses a certain cultural connotation likened to that of a boogeyman or some other fictitious creature intended to scare; but it’s particularly the unknown origin of this fear which gives cancer it’s specific air of insidiousness as well as a certain animosity. Almost as though the disease possessed a consciousness of it’s own, humanity’s language with which it describes its ‘fight against cancer’ certainly allows for a narrative to be articulated as time passes and other facts are found out about the affliction, which I think in part helps us to be able to stomach it’s strange and peculiar nature. Strangely enough, at least functionally speaking, cancerous cells are almost entirely healthy. They perform literally every function that a cell should be performing for it’s body; all except the pre-programmed death which all cells eventually meet as a result of their genes. And so eventually, the body ends up with more physical ground to cover in terms of supplying it’s cells with necessary nutrients like oxygenated blood from the heart, as well as ATP for fuel, etc. which it would need in order to survive, until the demands made by these immortal cells outweigh the actual biological resources of the body to the point where total death becomes inevitable. It’s this failure to die by the affected cells which allows the ominously connotated affliction all of it’s power. To think immortality, a notion which humanity has been obsessed with as a result of its own fear of death; has been achieved at the microscopic level by none other than some bizarre genetic accident; and it directly threatens our lives as we know it. Oh, the cosmic irony.

Still, it’s this parallel between the life cycle of the cell and the life cycle of humans which is directly struck upon by Williams throughout her memoir, allowing for a more multi-dimensional view of just what exactly ‘life’ may be, by more than one definition. When one begins to make a shift from thinking about life in terms of its seeming endlessness (the way I’d like to assume most healthily-minded and generally fulfilled people would go about thinking of it) and instead begins to look upon it in regards to its inevitable end, something very interesting begins to happen in terms of dynamics. The way almost everything begins to relate to each other is markedly changed. As illustrated above, in the context of humanity, an endless life might not seem like a bad idea at all to many; however, if one were to zoom in a few thousand nanometers, into the world of the cell, the characteristic takes on a completely adverse meaning for the being as a whole. It’s this almost paradoxical parallel which invites the reader to think about humanity as potentially cancerous or even about cancer as maybe, in some ways, more human than one might expect at first glance.

The Wild: Humanity’s Hope/Hell

“Here was a man who would not let the mere threat of cultural extinction stand in the way of his values…In the world of his people, never over-populated, rich in acorn, deer, salmon, and flicker feathers, to cleave to such purity, to be perfectionists about matters of family or clan, were affordable luxuries.”

Upon learning of one of the only other humans on earth to’ve spoken his native and near-extinct language, Snyder is remarking upon this man’s complete and total lack of interest in any sort of interaction with this woman of similar linguistic origin as he. This almost sarcastic use of the word ‘mere’ to indicate an intentionally understated meaning serves to highlight the degree to which this individual prioritized his own values above those of the world or society or culture which might contrast with his opinion; that it’s better to preserve his own feelings of solitude and non-interaction than to potentially salvage an almost-completely-eradicated linguistic tradition. It’s this prioritization of personal over popular which characterizes this individual’s relationship to that which humanity refers to as the “wilderness”, with particular regard to the vast expanse of simultaneously liberating as well as terrifying freedom that comes in tow with it.

“It’s also clear that the humanist is not necessarily an agnostic. Socrates’ last act was to ask that his promised offering to the spirit realm be carried out: ‘I owe a cock to Asclepius.’ The philosopher might despise mystification, but will respect mysteries.”

Snyder’s making a clear characterization between humanism and spirituality as anything but mutually exclusive, through the illustration of one of the most universally practical minds throughout history as one who even on his death bed, showcased a certain respect and one might even be able to say reverence, towards that which humanity cannot explain, for all it’s self-obsession and apparent disdain for its own lack of consequence. Through this illustration Snyder implies that even those who champion human agency as a pinnacle of existence within life as one understands it, should take care to learn as well as regard the blatant fact that humanity is far from the apex predator of the world which it so comfortably likes to categorize itself as.

Both of these instances lend themselves to the idea of the wild as both an extra-human force as well as a space with an almost inequitable kind of personal freedom; one which allows for a completely individualistically-shaped mode of thought, if one so desires, as the stimulating yet simultaneously overwhelming buzz of dense human habitation isn’t to be found among the wilderness.

Uncle Sam: The Wizard Behind The Tortilla Curtain?

“…You heard Jack Cherrystone speak to the issue, and nobody’s credentials can touch Jack’s as far as being a liberal is concerned, but this society isn’t what it was — and it won’t be until we get control of the borders.”

While this might seem a bit minute as well as slightly out of place to some, I’m going to argue that this short piece of dialogue given by Jack Jardine while encountering Delaney in the supermarket, illuminates one of the more central aspects of this work’s dynamics as a text: the degree to which an individual’s politics is shaped by their worldview as well as the necessary ‘credentials’ (or non-credentials) that one requires of somebody of any labelled ideology. In saying this, practically, the interpretation is of course that Jack Cherrystone’s public reputation is such that no one would scrutinize the labelling of him as a liberal. However, it’s both the syntactical structure of this sentence as it’s uttered as well as the specific word ‘credentials’ which highlight this purposeful misuse of the term. Of course, one doesn’t ‘apply’ to be a liberal or a conservative in the same way one ‘applies’ for a part-time position at a local business or whatever other overtly capitalistic means Jack might feel appropriate in invoking here; no, the ‘credentials’ which Jack Jardine is referring to here are pre-meditatively non-applicable. While one could argue that there’s a certain creative figurativity given by Jack Jardin here, for my purposes I’m going to be treating his use as purely literal. Because while it would definitely behoove a politician to gain ‘credibility’ in the eyes of potential voters, that’s more-or-less where the buck tends to stop: after they’ve been given that great abstraction of approval which so many citizens so willingly hand proven liars and crooks of almost every governmental level throughout constant election cycles within the US. The difference between this political context which Jack is wrapping around the word, and the practical one which is known by anybody who’s ever worked a day in their life, is simple: a deficit in the product of this ascribed status which we know as being ‘credible’. What I mean to say is that while a politician is concerned with having credibility simply within the eyes of the voters (because that’s all they would need in order to perform their job; getting re-elected), somebody who’s applying for an entry-level job needs to both establish that same credibility in the eyes of their potential employer as well as maintain that reliability throughout the execution of their job as well, so as to keep it. That’s not to say that politicians can’t speak to their own credibility using the products of their labor as well, however, there are multitudinous other power structures as well as control systems at play which usurp the popular sovereignty of our coveted democratic process, and besides, I think most of us can agree that at least in the political arena, this outright method of “show & prove” leaves a good amount to be desired where the latter half of the phrase is concerned. This purposeful application of a condition which indeed isn’t at all necessary in order for the mind of one individual (Delaney, in this case) to understand another individual such as Jack Cherrystone as a liberal, is directly indicative of the inherently manipulative nature of political language as well as a certain ethos which surrounds the political sphere; that the arbitrarily highfalutin nature of the position we call ‘politician’ automatically bears actual practical constraints of the same unnecessarily upper-class attitude. It’s this exact idea that anybody’s in need of any real ‘credentials’ in order to pursue the actual definitional meaning of politics; which is the want & concern for the improvement of one’s community where any individual might see fit, that strikes a brilliantly resonant chord which reverberates throughout the entirety of the text itself; this unabashedly fear-driven means of massaging the mind of any individual with enough of a deficit in personal agency to give the actual job of representative government to someone who might ‘do it better’. As if caring for one’s fellow man at the communal (and in this text’s cases, the locally developmental level) required anything other than some semblance of a working participation in the community as well as even the most miniscule capacity for basic human empathy. It’s both the existence of this ambiguous and ominous mystique of the way in which politics plays upon even our most innately crude and malformed means of interpreting the inhabitants of the world around us, as well as some of the directly negative results of this application of subtle yet completely intentional social-cleavages via clever words & phrases that stand as central to the problems of race and resolution which are illustrated by this text.

“So what’d you hit–a deer? Coyote?”

A clear theme of T.C. Boyle’s novel The Tortilla Curtain is racism.  An emphasis on race, class privilege, and the relationship between the two are present in every moment of this story.  We watch two couples live, separated only be a few miles, and the vast expanses of race and class in capitalist America.  This book stands out from the rest we have read in class.  The emphasis is on human relationships rather than our relationship with the earth.  However, seeing as we are a part of the earth, the way we treat each other is the way we treat the earth.  It is easy to compare the colonization of the planet to the colonization of other races.  Those who have power use it to strip the colonized of everything, leaving them with nothing.  This is what we do to each other, this is what we do to our home.

We exist in a capitalistic society.  It is a fact, money is everything.  Money is what separates the character of Cándido with that of Delaney.  Their citizenship status, their race, and their backgrounds because of these things set them up to exist where they do in society.  In The Unsettling of America, Wendell Berry wrote about racism and its relationship with industrialism.  He writes about our “contempt for work”.  This feeling that we are somehow above manual labor is very similar to the way the human race views its relationship with the rest of the planet.  We see ourselves as those who own the earth, not merely people who live here.  This is the same exact mentality that capitalist America wants us to believe in.  The idea that you must own, not work.  Berry writes, “Out of this contempt for work came the idea of a n*gger: at first some person, and later some thing to be used to relieve us of the burden of work.  If we began making n*ggers out of people, we have ended by making a n*gger out of the world”(12).  This is how the U.S. runs, even today.  The undocumented people who come to this country looking for something better, are used just as slaves were in America’s beginning.  They human beings who are not citizens, and therefor must do whatever they can to make it in a country that will not help them, even if that means preforming the hardest of physical labor for the lowest possible pay.  Throughout the novel The Tortilla Curtain, this is made very clear.  América must go find work, because her husband had been run over by Delaney.  She goes every day and watches the men work.  She knows that you must show up eager to work, while in competition with others who are just as desperate as you.  They wait to be picked out for jobs by rich, white people who underpay them because they can.  The competition means they can be severely under payed and not be able to do anything about it because this is the only possible way to eat.  

Throughout this novel, the traffic is often a topic of conversation between both the rich, white characters, and the undocumented immigrants.  The traffic is seen very differently by the two couples.  Kyra and Delaney exist as a part of it, with comments like, not caring if they had to be stuck in it.  América and Cándido on the other hand, see the traffic and marvel at the sheer amount and speed.  While the liberals add to the fast, noisy, dangerous stream of cars, the immigrant’s very lives are threatened by it.  The first interaction between the two worlds of the liberals and the immigrants was that of Delaney hitting Cándido with his car.  This was a jarring moment for both of them, Cándido, of course, suffering the most.  This moment was shocking, and I would say even slightly traumatizing for both of them.  In this moment Delaney was wrenched out of the safe world in which he exists.  He struck a person with his car.  However, his feelings about the situation change when he finds that Cándido is the person he has hit.  “Delaney felt a sense of relief wash over him–the man wasn’t going to die, he wasn’t going to sue, he was all right and it was over”(9).  Hitting another human being with your vehicle can be something that ruins your life forever.  Not only did Delaney hit Cándido, he sent him flying into the desert and nearly killed him.  If the hit had been fatal, and Cándido had been a white, legal citizen, Delaney’s life could very well be over.  However, as an illegal immigrant, Cándido could not even communicate with his perpetrator, let alone go to the doctor, or sue Delaney.  And, somehow, Cándido’s status relieved Delaney of any sort of human to human empathy or worry he would have had if Cándido had been someone else.  This shows the dehumanization of Mexican immigrants, even from the viewpoint of liberals who think they are enlightened on the subject of people’s lives.  When Delaney goes to his dealership to get his car fixed after the incident, he does not think twice about the fact that there is blood and hair and all sorts of evidence that he has just run down a human being.  His white, upper-middle class, privilege shields him from having to worry about being ‘found out’.  As soon as he walks in to the dealership the first question is, “‘So what’d you hit–a deer? Coyote?‘”(13).  There is not even a slight assumption that he could have hurt another person.  However, Cándido came out of this accident with brutal injuries, forcing him to stay at camp while América went out in search of work.  Delaney leaves him behind to suffer in the dirt, after depriving him of the only thing that could allow him to make money and better their situation–his body.  

Kyra and Delaney live within miles of América and Cándido.  However, they are separated into different worlds because of the societal labels on their very bodies.  While the liberals can exist in this space, freely and privileged, the immigrants are exploited and ignored by their fellow human beings.  In the capitalistic society of the United Stated of America, our economy and way of life is based on the exploitation and oppression of others.  This narrative sounds so familiar.  It reflects the way we, as the human race, exploits the earth on which we live.  The level of comfort that we have come to require in our day to day lives–electricity, readily available water, cars, clean Buddhas(93-97)–can only exist at the expense of other races, places, animals, etc.  Whenever there is privilege, there is power imbalance, there is oppression, and there is exploitation.