Argueta has stated that his exposure to poetic sounds began during his childhood and that his foundation in poetry stemmed from his childhood imagination. Arguetas interest in literature was strongly influenced by the world literature he read as a teenager. Argueta began his writing career by the age of 13 as a poet. Although he was relatively unknown at the time, Argueta won a national prize for his poetry around , which gained him some recognition among Salvadoran and Central American poets.

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Even though the story is fictional the issues are indisputably real. During the 12 year civil war, Manlio Argueta was banished into exile, to Costa Rica due to his profession, it was no longer safe for him to stay in El Salvador. One of Manlio Argueta close friend and mentor, Roque Dalton, was assassinated due to that reason. The story is told through the eyes of the grandmother of the Guardado family, named Lupe.

Most importantly, Lupe as a narrator analyzes her feelings and tries to make sense of the confusion. Especially for that reason I believe Manlio Argueta chose to write the story through the eyes of a women rather than a man. I also think he used a female narrator because the women were the most oppressed. Their sole purpose of living was to take care of the home and the children. Another reason why he chose a female narrator was because so he can write in a more emotional way and can describe situations more in detailed, and paint a better image to make the reader feel like they are there.

It allows the reader to feel the emotions and devastations of poverty and oppression thrust upon Lupe and her community. They say we have a lot of people in this country. And the most abundant are the poor. Hordes of poor people everywhere. But what can we do? What are we guilty of? In this quote Lupe is addressing the poverty issue in El Salvador. The wealth of the country is held by the 14 families. All these details provided a depressing tone and environment that really humanized the poverty and oppression the poor people of El Salvador had to endure.

We hear about other countries poverty, violence, and problems everyday on the news, internet, history class, and etc; the thoughts that come to mind are how sad, that sucks, but through the details Manlio Argueta provided above makes the readers feel the sadness, feel the poverty, and feel the oppression. Children playing in the streets of El Salvador, instead of going to school. The right to health care, food, and the schooling for our children.

Having the image of a priest getting wounded in the anus makes a person cringe. Manlio Argueta brilliantly acknowledges this oppression through the quote above, by showing the absolute lack of knowledge the poor knew about their rights until the priests told them. The priests were a threat, because they were educating the poor and giving them a voice, the guardsmen as the role of the oppressor, beat a priest to an inch of life, disfigured his face, stuck a stick up his anus, and torched his car.

This scared away the priests, the only people willing to help the poor, and furthermore oppressing the people. Manlio Argueta carefully crafted this image of the priest, to depict the dangers of helping the poor and how the poor people are so oblivious to their situation. The way he described the scene made me feel like I was a bystander, watching the scene of where they found the priest.

After reading this part of the book, it made me sick and furthermore made me feel bad for the poor because no one would help them. Another element Manlio Argueta used to make the readers understand the oppression that was happening in El Salvador, was through language. He used a different language style for the oppressed and the oppressors. The oppressed had a gloomy overcast of sadness, confusion, and numbness to their speech, which further illustrated the effects of poverty and oppression; that it starts dehumanizing a person.

After what happened to my son Justino, I prefer to stay closed up inside myself. The demanding, vulgar speech the guardsmen and military used in the book allowed the readers to get the full effect of the oppression poor Salvadorians had to go through. In this quote Manlio Argueta describes the thinking habits of the oppressors which allows the reader to understand why the Guardsmen are so cruel.

The profanity used by the oppressors show their anger, and dominance over the poor people. It created an environment of fear, and as the reader hears all the nasty things that the oppressor says, it makes the oppression so much more real.

Through the crafting of these writing methods he brilliantly depicts the horror of poverty and oppression the poor people in El Salvador had to endure during the 12 year civil war. Works Cited Argueta, Manlio. One Day of Life. New York: Vintage, This book was our assigned book for our Central American Class. I analyzed the book and used quotes from the book to suppose my analysis.


One Day of Life

At first there is a sense of being alive, but as the day goes on, more and more of the injustice and horror that she experiences is revealed. Together, the two strains of narrative combine to highlight the tragedy of this family--and, by extension, the rural population of El Salvador. A reader more attuned to the history of El Salvador, or someone familiar with the politics of the time might not have this problem--in some ways, for me, it was like trying to catch a moving train. But aside from that, the introductory chapters with their attention to the peasant way of life were not very eventful. A few years ago, I read a very similar book, published only a year after this one, called El Infierno, by Carlos Martinez Moreno, which dealt with the struggles between the government of Uruguay and the Tupamaro guerrillas. While One Day of Life did try to personalize the tragedy by placing the character of Lupe foremost as a kind of center around which to build the narrative, both novels rely heavily on vignettes to communicate the events, vignettes which seem to be the anonymous voices of survivors who just want someone to hear their story. The fractured style of these novels, with their disrupted timelines, their disembodied voices, and their atrocities, may actually be the best way to intimate the confusion and sorrow of the time, regardless of literary merit.


One Day of Life Quotes

The novel takes place in a small town of Chalatenango, El Salvador, where the Guardado family, Lupe Guardado, and her husband Chepe Guardado begin their day of work and chores for the new day, or so they believed. As the day progresses, Lupe notices that her once quaint town is being terrorized and uninhabitable due to the oppressive authorities that abuse the hardworking impoverished people. Manlio Argueta uses a fictitious impoverished family, the Guardado family, as a mere source that unravels the social and personal changes bestowed on the poor people due to the hostile Salvadoran Civil War, also showcasing the control and oppression the rich have over the poor, and emphasizing the vital role the Catholic church plays in the novel as well. As the novel progresses, the social change that reshapes Chalatenango from the Salvadoran Civil War influences the personal change in Lupe Guardado, and her surrounding family members and relatives. Progressing, as the oppressive authorities came in and terrorized the poor people, including Lupe and her family, she became even more fearful when they threatened her husband Chepe, after the killing of their son Justino.

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