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Tierra Y LibertadLand, Liberty, and Latino Housing$
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Steven W. Bender

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791257

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791257.001.0001

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date: 27 May 2020

(p.37) 4 Loss in the Tortilla Flats

(p.37) 4 Loss in the Tortilla Flats

(p.37) 4 Loss in the Tortilla Flats
Tierra Y Libertad

Steven W. Bender

NYU Press

This chapter makes the first geographical stop in a national housing survey, examining the wrenching economics for farm workers and other manual laborers in California’s affluent Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. This chapter also offers literary examples of the popular conception of Latino/as as poor stewards of their houses and the land, which resonates in U.S. society’s shabby treatment of Latino/as in the arena of housing policy. The chapter addresses specifically the derogatory literary depictions of Latino/a housing in John Steinbeck’s 1935 novel Tortilla Flat and T. C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain, which complement the history of the literal loss of Latino/as’ land and homes, as well as their historical and current exclusion from the American dream of homeownership.

Keywords:   Latino/as, Tortilla Flat, housing policy, Monterey

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