Under the Feet of Jesus

Under the Feet of Jesus Character List


The primary protagonist, Estrella is a young woman coming of age in rural America. Her and her family are migrant laborers, constantly moving to follow harvest seasons. Bold and decisive, Estrella becomes a leader within her family. When her friend Alejo is critically injured, she takes action to save him. Estrella perceives and fights against the injustice of a system that marginalizes workers.


Estrella's mother Petra is more submissive and resigned than her daughter. Petra turns to religion and superstition for support. Long-suffering, hardworking, and loving, Petra forms the core of the family. She cares not only for her family, but also a sick Alejo.


Petra's boyfriend, Perfecto acts as a surrogate father. Skilled in construction and other handiwork, he helps the family survive. A well-respected man of few words, Perfecto has a surprising past. Having abandoned one family before, he contemplates leaving Petra and her children at the end of the novel.


Alejo is Estrella's friend and love interest. Alejo dreams of returning to school to study geology and encourages Estrella to think beyond work in the fields. He is poisoned with pesticides and ends the novel in the hospital.


Gumecindo is Alejo's cousin, who spends much of the novel afraid of La Llorona, a Hispanic mythological figure who kidnaps children. Gumecindo proves unable to handle his cousin's poisoning and subsequent illness. He leaves Alejo in Petra's care.

The Nurse

The unnamed nurse attends to Alejo at the medical clinic. A symbol of middle-class America, the nurse is ignorant of her own privilege, migrant laborer sacrifices, and the connection between the two. She demands payment, knowing the family will be left penniless.

Estrella's Father

Estrella's father is known primarily by his absence. He abandons Petra and her children before the novel begins and never returns.


A poor, illiterate Caucasian girl who also works in the fields, Maxine is part of a family famous for getting in trouble with the law.


Ricky is Estrella's younger brother. Like Estrella's other siblings, he plays a very small role in the novel. Estrella often cares for her brothers and sisters, who are too young to care for themselves.


Arnulfo is Estrella's younger brother.


Perla is a twin and Estrella's younger sister.