Zoot Suit

Zoot Suit Metaphors and Similes

"You look like a puta" (Simile)

Before the dance, Lupe, Henry, and Rudy are getting ready to go to the dance. Their parents comment on how short Lupe's skirt is, and use this simile, using the Spanish word for prostitute to let her know that she looks immodest.

"Every time the DA farts, they throw us in the can" (Metaphor)

This rather rude metaphor, conjured by one of the members of the 38th Street Gang, suggests that Chicano men are thrown in jail often and for arbitrary reasons.

"I've always felt like there was a party I was invited to, but I don't know how to get there" (Simile)

In the flashback to Della and Henry's trip to Sleepy Lagoon, Henry tells Della that he wants more from life. He uses the simile of a party to express the fact that he feels as though there are some opportunities that he is being offered, but which he has trouble accessing. This serves as a kind of metaphor for the American dream and the relative difficulty poor immigrants have in achieving it.

"Find them guilty of murder and you will murder the spirit of racial justice in America." (Metaphor)

In his final statement in court, the boys' lawyer, George Shearer uses this metaphor to express the ways that the gang members deserve to go free and are being treated unfairly because of their race. He suggests that the judge will be guilty of "murdering" justice should he wrongfully find Henry and the other boys guilty.

"You're leading your buddies down a dead-end street" (Metaphor)

George, when he first meets the members of the 38th Street Gang, uses this metaphor to suggest that Henry is not leading them towards victory, but instead ensuring their imprisonment.