In Under the Feet of Jesus, what is the motif of stones?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a novel that is full of relgious imagery and symbolism as it describes the plight of migrant workers and in particular the Mexican family of which Estrella, the novel's protagonist, is a part. Having smashed the desk of the nurse to regain her family's money, they are able to fill the tank of the car and take Alejo to hospital. As Estrella walks out of the hospital, having left him there, Viramontes describes her movements as follows:

...she stepped forward and the glass doors split open before her as if obeying her command... Estrella parted the doors like a sea of glass and walked through...

The clear allusion to Moses and the parting of the Red Sea is supported by Estrella's action when they return to camp. Estrella climbs onto the roof and describes the stones under her feet as feeling like "the serpent under the feet of Jesus." Estrella is depicted as standing on the roof "as immobile as an angel standing on the verge of faith." Stones therefore represent the challenges or evil that Estrella has managed to triumph over. The religious symbolism that imbues the novel therefore highlights the character development of Estrella as she is shown to have gained the strength and maturity to act as the champion for her family and a "star," as her name suggests.


We’ve answered 317,674 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question