Tortilla Curtain

This essay has a total of 884 words and 4 pages.

Tortilla Curtain


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 that. He isn't stupid. In many ways his
reasoning about illegal immigrants makes a lot of sense. Illegal immigration does hurt the
economy. Illegal immigrants do take away jobs from citizens. But Jack takes it to such an
extreme that it is hard for one to feel that his views of illegal immigrants and his
sentiments about them are purely a result of his concern about the economy and the state.

'Don't be surprised, because this is only the beginning. We're under siege here-and
there's going to be a backlash.';(pg. 146)

Jack acts like citizens are in some kind of war with illegal immigrants. With sentiments
like this it is hard to deny that he has a bit of paranoia. It is very interesting that he
says citizens are under siege from illegal immigrants. It seems like he thinks that if
they don't stop all the illegal immigrants, they are going to take over the country or do
some other horrific deed.

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
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