Under The Feet Of Jesus Response Paper

766 words, 4 pages

Intro Sample...

Helena Maria Viramontes’s Under the Feet of Jesus depicts the false reality of the “American Dream”. She confronts issues of inequality in areas such as education and class, and reveals how these inequalities all tie into race. As the details of Estrella and her family’s life unravels throughout the novel, Viramontes is able to shatter the illusion of the American dream while highlighting the ways in which society has created this false identity that excludes minorities from equal opportunities.
Early on in the novel, Estrella personally experiences marginalization while at school. Her teachers are more focused on her appearances, thereby depriving her of a proper education. Viramontes writes, “Estrella hated when things were kept... View More »

Body Sample...

She and her family do not have the ability, or free time, to lay out in the sun because their days are filled with nothing but labor. Although the American Dream promises leisure time, Viramontes is reminding her readers that there must always be people involved in labor so that others can always have leisure.
Another way in which the Coppertone ad is problematic can be seen through its general message. The sunscreen is celebrating tan-colored skin. However, having tan skin is the very issue society has towards Estrella. The message that Coppertone gives off is ironic. Being tan through superficial means is seen as acceptable because in order to become tan, one must have naturally pale skin. On the other hand, Estrella is tan because of her cultural background and also because she spends her days working under the sun. The difference between her tan and White Americans being tan is that hers is as a result of labor, therefore making it “ugly”, while others is a result of leisure, making it “beautiful” and “luxurious”. While Estrella may possess the same skin-tone as a tan American, she is forever looked upon as “unattractive” and inferior because she does not have the ability to revert to a more pale skin tone like the dominant society. Viramontes is, once again, addressing an issue of unequal treatment based on ideas of race, which only reinforces the conception of race as a social construct.

Works Cited
Viramontes, Helena María. Under the Feet of Jesus. New York: Dutton, 1995. Print.


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