The impartial care and understanding with which John listens to Tita's confession separates him from the other characters in the novel. Mama Elena exemplifies the belief in the subjugation of the individual to tradition, while Gertrudis, at the other extreme, embodies the reckless indulgence of individual needs and disregard for societal norms. John offers a rational approach to Tita's situation, advising her to reason out her options. John's values as a white man contrast with those of the Mexican De La Garza family; he is not imbued with the same passion as the De La Garzas, but is endowed with a spiritual wisdom that they do not possess. It is this quality that makes John capable of guiding Tita closer to her own heart.