Legs

by: William Kennedy

Chapter 4: Johnny Raw, Jack Gentleman: Part I

Summary Chapter 4: Johnny Raw, Jack Gentleman: Part I

Jack's bad guy appeal is reinforced in this chapter when the librarian falls for him so hard that she tries to take her own life when he breaks it off with her. Marcus is attracted to the dangerous side of Jack's character, but he does not want to put himself in too much peril, and refuses to hide Jack's jewels. Marcus wants vicarious thrills from Jack. Marcus is not interested in actually being bad; he prefers seeming bad.

Jack often tries to be a good Catholic. He goes to mass, donates money to the church, and occasionally carries a rosary. But details in this chapter indicate that Jack is not as devout as he likes to seem. Jack's morals are questionable, and he also has a curious fascination with the religious group the Masons. Although he claims to have become a member of the group for business purposes, saying Protestants do not always want to do business with Catholics, the story about how Northrop got him to become a Mason suggests that Jack is genuinely interested in the sect. Moreover, Jack's repeated references to luck implies a belief in elements of the occult.

Jack began to rise through the ranks of the mob by killing a man who gave him four thousand dollars not to kill him. This is the first in a series of personal betrayals that Jack purports or allegedly purports. In addition to his guilt over disrespecting his Irish Catholic heritage, Jack feels guilty about these betrayals.