Study Questions for Under the Feet of Jesus

Under the Feet of Jesus

1. Explain the first sentence (it is a question) in the book in terms of its symbolism. Comment on the ending in relationship to this beginning.

2. "It was always a question of work . . ." (4).

3. Examine the family’s past circumstances and give some examples as to how the parents’ past affects the present.

4. Give a character sketch of Alejo, of Estrella.

5. "The woman’s bonnet would be as useless as Estrella’s own straw hat under a white sun so mighty, it toasted the green grapes to black raisins" (50).

6. "Still on her feet, Estrella turned to the long stretch of railroad ties. They looked like the stitches of the mother’s caesarean scar as far as her eyes could see" (59).

7."As she bent to pick up her hat, Estrella noticed her hands. Once filled with light, her palms were now tainted with brick red rust" (90).

8. "Her hands were caked with gray died mud,and although it was not the thing to do, she wiped her hands against her dress, then shook off the loose dirt" (130).

9. "–They make you that way, she sighed with resignation. She tried to understand what happened herself. You talk and talk and talk to them and they ignore you. But you pick up a crowbar and break the pictures of their children, and all of a sudden they listen real fast" (151).

10. "The roof tilted downward and she felt gravity pulling but did not lose her footing. The termite-softened shakes crunched beneath her bare feet like the serpent under the feet of Jesus, and a few pieces tumbled down and over the edge of the barn" (175). Explain the imagery here as well as its relevancy to the story as a whole.