How is Jose different from Angel in Buried Onions?How might Angel have reacted if he had been there when Eddie saw Mr. Stiles' truck?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jose has managed to rise above poverty and racism and has made something of his life by joining the Marines. Jose is proud, and acts all macho, but Eddie senses that  Jose, "deep down in his heart, (is) OK." Eddie has learned a bit about responsibility and integrity in the Marines, and when Eddie sees Mr. Stiles' truck as they are leaving a restaurant, Jose acts decisively in attempting to get the truck back to Mr. Stiles, the truck's rightful owner. Jose convinces Eddie to call Mr. Stiles to tell him to come and pick up his truck, while he himself goes to make sure that nothing happens to the truck in the meantime. For his efforts, Jose is stabbed by a group of young gang members, and ends up in the hospital, critically injured.

Angel is an entirely different character than Jose. He is a hoodlum through and through, and spends his days getting high on drugs or glue. Angel has no conscience, and if he wants anything at all, he simply steals it. He is "vicious, sneaky," and has "slammed baseball bats on other dudes...and still manage(s) to eat his tortillas and sleep well." If Angel had been with Eddie when Eddie finds the truck, he probably would have wanted to vandalize it, or steal it for his own purposes. Eddie suspects that Angel was the one who stole the truck from him in the first place; it would be totally consistent with his character to see the truck only as a means to benefit himself.