Compare/Contrast Characters Cortez and Jones

From the novels “If He Hollers Let Him Go” by Himes Chester and “With Pistol in His Hands” by Parades Americo, we come across two main characters Robert Jones and Gregorio Cortez who compare in various ways. Looking at the story of Robert Jones, he faces the challenge of being black in a white society and ends up feeling sidelined for being different in the early days of the country’s involvement in World War II (Himes 17). On his own, he tries to fight against the issue of racism that was somewhat evident during that time. He also works to explore the nature of freedom which he had not been able to acquire. Basing on the issue or theme of racism, there is also an evident translation of the same problem when it comes to the story of Gregorio Cortez.  There was also racial discrimination between Mexicans and Americans which made them even unable to defend their rights (Paredes 9). Looking at the two characters when it comes to fighting racism, it is justified to say that both of them are brave and courageous. They were bold enough to face racism and prove that having a different color does not necessarily make them different among the whites and also does not make them an inferior population whatsoever. They were courageous enough to defend their rights as well as the rights of their people.

Both Jones and Cortez according to the two novels are seen to be short-tempered and quick to anger. Basing on Gregorio’s story, we can see him having a misunderstanding with a sheriff who was investigating a horse theft in the company of a translator. Since Gregorio was a Mexican and did not know much when it came to English, there was a communication barrier that prompted a misunderstanding (Paredes 27).  The poor translation led to poor misunderstanding, and as a result, Gregorio ended up shooting the sheriff. Looking at Jones, on the other hand, he gets all temperamental when a white woman by the name Madge refused to work for him just because he was black and Madge referred to him as a nigger. Keeping in mind that one of his worst fear was racism, he did not have second thoughts when it came to reacting violently towards Madge, which brought him serious trouble with his supervisor (Himes 29). By the mere virtue that both Jones and Cortez violently acted under some of the situations that they were both not comfortable with proves that they both short tempered.

Both Jones and Cortez can be termed as vengeful. Looking at Gregorio’s story, Mexican Americans were still treated as inferior by the authorities and were stereotyped by the Anglo-Texans as criminals, treacherous and cowardly. The Texas Rangers were aimlessly killing Mexicans all in the name of protecting the border. Gregorio Cortez could not stand these inhumane actions that were happening to his people. In the event of trying to defend his rights, he was able to challenge the supremacy that had been long established by the Anglo Texans (Paredes 43). Comparing this to Jones’s story we can see him planning a revenge attack on Madge though the manipulation of a white co-worker who even gave him Madge’s address (Himes 58). This is a common trait that both of the main characters in the two novels also have in common.

The threats of violence are vital elements when it comes to the social change of peace. They play a role in instilling dynamism into the law structure as well as settling disputes that arise. They also induce a considerable amount of general respect. The risk of violence, in general, is essential in the preservation of national societies. Violence, however, is made up of two inextricable aspects. These include demonstration which is made up of elements like suicide, politics, and crimes of passion among others. The second aspect is threat. These two aspects are therefore inseparable. The absence of the actual demonstration capability many times has little effects in the induction of willing political bargains. Threats of private violence that are usually directed against the government significantly influence the government. It leads to the allocation of the resources of a society. The threats of violence also promote vigilance among individuals and enable leadership positions to be careful even when it comes to handling the so-called inferior population.  The eruption of violence in many instances turns out ugly as it results in death and hatred which. Therefore these threats are more likely to prevent some of the possible future violence eruption cases since it is more likely that no individual finds it fun to engage in battles and strife. Basing on the two novels, we can see that violence played a vital role in the promotion of self-respect and acquisition of freedom. From Gregorio’s story, we see him engaging in violence by using the gun on his hands to gain self-respect and protect the interests of his people and even turned him out as the hero of his society. Jones, on the other hand, used violence which was aimed at earning some respect even despite his racial background.


Works Cited

Himes, Chester. If He Hollers Let Him Go. Serpent’s Tail, (2010):1-224

Paredes, Américo. “With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero. University of Texas Press, (2010): 1-245