The environment and its creatures hold a deep connection that most humans do not have or understand. In Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, the main characters have a rare interaction with one of natures most “cunning, versatile, hungry and unstoppable” creatures: the coyote (Boyle 215). Some of his characters hold a deeper level of connection with the coyote that can almost be seen as paralleled and from this connection, T.C. Boyle’s idea of how a Mexican immigrant and a coyote can be related is expressed when the notion of the willingness to do anything to survive, being clever and relentless, and though fearful are fascinating is explored.
The idea that coyotes are willing do anything to survive, even trespassing private property, connects prominently with Mexican immigrants having to take extreme measures to survive and have a better life. For instance, when Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher’s morning is “torn apart by a breathless shriek that rose up…something final and irrevocable…a coyote had somehow managed to get into the enclosure and seize one of the dogs…there it was, wild nature…” (Boyle 36-37). The willingness of the coyote to scale up into someone else’s territory and snatch what is theirs shows its instinct to do whatever possible to survive. The strong instinct is what makes coyotes clever and dangerous to domesticated animals and even humans who are not accustomed to living in the wild, hunting to survive, being the predator. Similar to the coyote’s strong instinct to be willing to do anything to survive, Cándido Rincon is forced to trespass private property and even though he thinks, “[I] was no looter, no thief,” he knows “this was a question of survival, of necessity––he had a wife and a daughter and they had to eat…” and he climbs over the wall into a house with a garden and a shed that would provide both food and tools to build a shelter for his family (299). Cándido’s instinct kicks in when he realizes that the only way to survive is by making the difficult decision of stealing from other’s property, like the coyote taking the dog from Delaney and Kyra to eat and survive. T.C. Boyle parallels the untamed animal, the coyote, and the Mexican immigrant, Cándido, to express his powerful notion of surviving by any means necessary.
The nature of coyotes connects to Mexican immigrants in more instances than having the willingness to take dangerous measures to survive and improve their lives. Like coyotes, Mexican immigrants can also be cunning and ruthless. In Delaney’s column, Pilgrim At Topanga Creek, he talks about the coyotes’ ability of adapting to the environment, and that “Trapping is utterly useless,” because “The population will simply breed up to fill the gap,” so “We cannot eradicate the coyote, nor can we fence him out,” we just have to “Respect him as the wild predator he is, keep your children and pets inside, leave no food source where he can access it” (212-214). Although Delaney is clearly talking...