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The author does not tell us what Eddie's future is; the story ends on an ambiguous note, and the only thing that is certain is that Eddie's life will continue to be hard. In the last paragraph of the book Eddie says,
"I hunched down, my hands to my face to hide the shame that had brought me to this field...I saw my palms bloodred from all the city wars - those in the past, those now, and those to come when every homie would raise a fist to his brother."
At the end of the story, Eddie has taken steps to better his life by joining the military, but even that is not a sure promise of a better life. Eddie encounters continued disillusionment when he enlists, noting with chagrin that the neighborhood druggie, "Larry the stoner," is joining up with him. Although he has joined the navy in hopes of a change of scenery at sea, he is sent to Lemoore Naval Air Station, "in the desert, where the heat (is) even more vicious" than his home in Fresno. Eddie has joined up because he feels there are no other options open to him, and as he enters this new stage in his life, things still look pretty grim.
One of the strengths of Buried Onions is the author's insistence on portraying life realistically. There is no easy, happy ending; life for Eddie and other young Hispanics like him will continue to be difficult at best. The author does offer a small shred of optimism, however. In the last scene of the book, Eddie symbolically receives from a man in the desert field two onions, "one for each hand." In accepting his lot in life, Eddie acknowledges his kinship with others, and there is hope that as his "eyes (fill) and then (close) on the last of childhood tears," he will continue in his struggle to rise above the obstacles stacked against him, and in the end, make a life for himself that is honorable and secure.
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