The Tortilla Curtain

by

T. Coraghessan Boyle

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A resident of Arroyo Blanco Estates and occasional employer of América Rincón. On the first day that América works for him, Shirley predatorily places his hand in her lap while driving her home; the narration is ambiguous about whether he further sexually harasses her. Shirley’s harassment of América is heavily ironized later in the novel, when Shirley argues that one of the main reasons the wall should be erected around Arroyo Blanco Estates is to protect (white) women from sexual assault.

Jim Shirley Quotes in The Tortilla Curtain

The The Tortilla Curtain quotes below are all either spoken by Jim Shirley or refer to Jim Shirley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Anger, Hatred, and Bigotry Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Tortilla Curtain published in 1996.
Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

All she could see was the image of those animals at the border, the half-a-gringo and his evil eyes and filthy insinuating fingers, the fat white man with his fat white hands, and she withdrew into herself, dwelled there deep inside where nobody could touch her. “Hey, baby,” they called when they saw her there trying to melt into the darkness, “hey, ruca, hey, sexy, ¿quieres joder conmigo?

Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Tortilla Curtain LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Tortilla Curtain PDF

Jim Shirley Character Timeline in The Tortilla Curtain

The timeline below shows where the character Jim Shirley appears in The Tortilla Curtain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Anger, Hatred, and Bigotry Theme Icon
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
Delaney listens as various community members, including Jim Shirley and Jack Cherrystone, comment on the gate issue. He begins to worry, thinking: “Crime? Up... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
Anger, Hatred, and Bigotry Theme Icon
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
...fat man,” with whom Candelario is speaking English. (The man turns out to be Jim Shirley.) Mary runs over, too, and insists that she be hired instead of América—“She doesn’t speak... (full context)
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
...América’s perspective. It is six o’clock in the evening and she is still at Jim Shirley’s house, working. Though she is incredibly tired, América is heartened by the prospect of earning... (full context)
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
As Jim Shirley drives out of Arroyo Blanco Estates, where América has been working for the day, América... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
América emerges from a car that pulls up to the grocery store (Jim Shirley’s car). Cándido feels excited but also ashamed: “They would have money to eat, but he... (full context)
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
...best to keep his spirits up by distracting him with talk. After several hours, Jim Shirley shows up and América gets into his car. Despite Candelario Pérez’s efforts to convince Shirley... (full context)
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
...on cleaning the Buddhas, and soon realizes—thanks to the burning of her hands and nostrils—that Shirley has forgotten to give her gloves. América searches the bathroom but cannot find any gloves.... (full context)
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
...the corrosive burning her throat. She is determined to earn more money and to show Shirley that she is “worth more than the kind of girl who would have lifted his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
...alone in the labor exchange, América having left to work her second day at Jim Shirley’s house. Al Lopez arrives at the exchange and hires Cándido to work on his team... (full context)
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
...the welts across her neck and back. Cándido demands to know whether “that rico” (Jim Shirley) did this to her. América tells Cándido that José and his friend “took [her] money.”... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
Anger, Hatred, and Bigotry Theme Icon
Belonging and the American Dream Theme Icon
Violence Against Women Theme Icon
...some unwise investments” and is now on house arrest for the next three years. Jim Shirley and Jack Cherrystone were also present at the get-together. Delaney soon realized that the point... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
Anger, Hatred, and Bigotry Theme Icon
...As he is walking through the rain toward the gate of Arroyo Blanco Estates, Jim Shirley pulls up in his car. The two chat briefly, and as Shirley pulls through the... (full context)