Valuable Quotes

Here is a list of valuable quotes from the Tortilla Curtain.

Part 1
Pg. 4 “The man must have been crouching in the bushes like some feral thing, like a stray dog.”
Pg. 4 “Delaney’s first thought was for the car . . . then for the insurance rates . . . and finally, belatedly, for the victim.”
Pg. 10 “He tried to picture the man’s life—the cramped room, the bag of second-rate oranges on the streetcorner…and the cold mashed beans dug out of the forty-nine-cent can.”
Pg. 11 “he was camping down there, that’s what he was doing. Camping. Living. Dwelling. Making the trees and bushes and the natural habitat of Topanga State Park into his own private domicile.”
Pg. 15 “I told you- he was Mexican.”
Pg. 16 “His whole life was a headache, his whole stinking worthless pinche vida.”
Pg. 19 “Get out, get out of here and go back where you belong!”
Pg. 26 “He’d taken American from her father so they could have a better life…and now he couldn’t even put foot in her mouth. Worse: she was going to earn his keep.”
Pg. 26 “with thirty-two other men, sleeping in shifts and lining up on the streetcorner for work”
Pg. 29 “She wanted. Of course she wanted… A house, a yard, maybe a TV and a car too”
Pg. 39 “all Delaney’s neighbors could talk about, back and forth and on and on as if it were the key to all existence, was gates….To be erected at the main entrance and manned by a twenty-four-hour guard to keep out those very gangbangers, taggers and carjackers they’d come here to escape.”
Pg. 52 “he lay there in the ravine, fragile as a peeled egg, that was what America meant to him—just his life, that was all”
Pg. 62 “Fucking Beaners. Rip it up, man. Destroy it.”
Pg. 62 “The letters were crude and the words in English, but there was no mistaking the meaning: BEANERS DIE”
Pg. 101 “The ones coming in through the Tortilla Curtain down there”
Pg. 101 “No education, no resources, and no skills—all they’ve got to offer is a strong back”
Pg. 101 “Do you realize what you’re saying? Immigrants are the lifeblood of this country—we’re a nation of immigrants—and neither of us would be standing here today if it wasn’t.”
Pg. 127 “She felt a surge of hope: the worst of it was behind them now.”

Part 2
Pg. 149 “Did they all have to be Mexican?”
Pg. 158 “Somebody had to do something about these people—they were ubiquitous, prolific as rabbits, and they were death for business.”
Pg. 158 “Call the INS out here, get the police to crack down, something, anything.”
Pg. 172 “La Migra nailed him, and now he stood in line with all the hopeless others.”
Pg. 185 “I agree that everybody’s got a right to work and have a decent standard if living, but there’s just so many of them, they’ve overwhelmed us, the schools, welfare, the prisons and now the streets…”
Pg. 189 “Wall the place in. That was exactly what they intended to do. That was what they were here for. That was the purpose of the gathering”
Pg. 200 “He was a criminal for daring to want it, daring to risk everything for the basic human necessities, and nor even those were to be denied him.”
Pg. 200 “What gave them the right to all the riches of the world?”
Pg. 206 “gazing out on the grounded constellations on the valley floor, grid upon grid of lights, and every one a house, an apartment, a walk up or a flat, every one the promise of a life that would never again be this hard”
Pg. 207 “It was pinched and meaner, a lot of second hand shops and auto parts stores , dirty restaurants and cantinas with bars on the window”
Pg. 213 “coyotes of Los Angeles”
Pg. 215 “The coyotes keep coming …They are cunning, versatile, hungry and unstoppable.”
Pg. 220 “It’s about Mexicans, it’s about blacks. It’s about exclusions, division, hate”
Pg. 221 “This is a community . . . an exclusive private highly desirable location. And what do you think’s going to happen to property values if your filthy coyotes start attacking children”
Pg. 223 “Black paint, slick with the falling light, ten looping letters in Spanish: PINCHE PUTA”
Pg. 233 “She was too timid, too afraid to ask them if they’d seen Candido, her husband, her lost husband”
Pg. 238 “Maybe you can live like this, but not me”
Pg. 244 “He was being walled in, buried alive, and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.”
Pg. 249 “The nights were cold. And where was his son going to be born—in a bed with a doctor looking on or in a hut with the rain driving down and nobody there but Cándido with a pot of water and a rusty knife?”

Part 3
Pg. 272 “So she sat there, as miserable as she’d ever been in her life, and closed her mind down till the world went from a movie screen to a peephole, and still she wanted to close the peephole too.”
Pg. 275 “The wind screamed. It screamed for blood, for sacrifice, for Tenksgeevee, and the flames answered it.”
Pg. 288 “Delaney felt a thrill of triumph and hate—he couldn’t suppress it”
Pg. 311 “It was the Mexicans who’d done this. Illegals….Sneaking across the border, ruining schools gutting property values and freeloading on welfare…They were like barbarians”
Pg. 316 “There it was again, the hate. It came up on him so fast it choked him. There was no escape, no refuge—they were everywhere.”
Pg. 332 “All he cared about was this Mexican, the man who’d invaded his life like some unshakable parasite, like a disease”
Pg. 342 “It’s an angry, fragmented society out there, Delaney, and I’m not only talking about your native haves and have-nots, but the torrents of humanity surging in from China and Bangladesh and Colombia with no shoes, no skills and nothing to eat.”
Pg. 350 “How can anybody be that vicious?”
Pg. 352 “Delaney was drawn so much closer to that cold black working heart of the world than he’d ever dreamed possible”
Pg. 353 “All he wanted was work, and this was his fate, this was his stinking pinche luck, a violated wife and a blind baby and a crazy white man with a gun, and even that wasn’t enough to satisfy an insatiable God: no they’ll all had to drown like rats in a bargain.”

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