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...