Tortilla Curtain Essay

880 Words 4 Pages
Tortilla Curtain: Jack Jardine
Jack Jardine is a very interesting character in the story Tortilla Curtain. He has a very strong influence on Delany Mossbacher, one of the central characters in the story. His influences, along with the tragic string of events concerning Delany and Candido, produce a complete turn around in the ideals of Delany by the end of the story. At the start of the story Delany is a 'liberal humanist';, albeit a hypocritical one, but by the end of the story Delany is carrying a gun looking for Candido.
It is easy for readers to categorize Jack as a cruel, cold hearted, upper class bigot considering his actions and words. I have to admit I think he comes off that way sometimes. But he also is a lot more than just
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It's also hard to deny the race issue. The way he is so emotional about the topic of illegal immigrants, it is easy for people to think racism has something to do with it. Some might go as far to say the whole immigration thing is just a cover up so he can vent his racist views (considering that most illegal immigrants are not white). I would not go that far, but I do believe racism plays a factor in his actions. Says Jack, 'The ones coming in through the Tortilla Curtain down there, those are the ones that are killing us. They're peasants, my friend. No education, no resources, no skills…';.
Now what does he contribute in the larger scheme of the story? Jack serves to change Delany in such a way that by the end of the story Delany is in very many ways the exact opposite of the 'liberal humanist'; he supposedly was at the start of the story. That's not to say Jack is the only reason Delany changes. The incidents with Candido most assuredly had their part in his transformation. But Jack serves to bring the issues to the forefront. To constantly put it in Delany's face every chance he gets. After every bad incident involving Delany and immigrants, Jack is there to chime in with his views. That must certainly have an effect on Delany because by the end of the story Delany is accusing Mexicans of theft and is packing a gun to look for Candido. That is a far cry from the start of the story. Delany is very much a