“Finding One’s Self in Times of Trouble”: An explication of the Helena Maria Viramontes’ novel Under the Feet of Jesus.
Helena Maria Viramontes' Under the Feet of Jesus portrays the maturing of Estrella, a young Latina that seems to awaken in many different aspects of her life. The author’s use of Estrella give the book its strength and potency. Estrella is an affectionate character, which is at the center of all the important issues. She is used a symbol to represent the small amount of strength that lingers at a person’s weakest point. Estrella, throughout the entire novel, serves as the strong base for the family and through the setting established, the audience is able to see her grow in her social, political, economical, and cultural knowledge. Estrella’s mother, Petra, was left a long time ago by her husband. It is her circumstances that the reader is asked to relate with most. Estrella learns from her father’s disappearance that men cannot be trusted or depended on, and that women will usually always be left to take care of the family. Just as Petra has been abandoned physically by Estrella's father, and mentally by Perfecto, Estrella soon will come to be abandoned by Alejo. The fact that Perfecto has not married her mother, furthers this idea of lack of commitment made by the men in her life. “The eucalyptus trees lined the dirt road like a row of thin dancing girls fanning their feathers. Estrella knows the world of men and women through her mother Petra and Perfecto, ‘the man who was not her father’" (3). Viramontes is sympathetic to the men in some ways, but she does emphasize that when the men abandon the family, the women are left to endure for themselves and their children. Estrella and Alejo’s relationship, serves as a major basis for the author's allegation in this idea of suffering. Alejo’s death represents how once again a female is left behind. Estrella is the heart and soul of the novel and her love for Alejo, was more important than Alejo...
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