Buried Onions is rich with vivid language and imagery. Pick two recurring images from this novel and explain what they convey about Eddie and the world he lives in. What mood, tone, and reaction do these recurring images elicit?

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One image that Eddie mentions more than once is the shape that Jose's blood took after Jose is stabbed when trying to retrieve Mr. Stiles's truck (which had been stolen from in front of Eddie's apartment). Eddie says that when Jose is stabbed, he goes "down on one knee, blood in the shape of the United States on the sidewalk." This image seems especially significant given the oddness and precision of the shape in which the blood pools. We might interpret this image as an indictment of the United States, a country where all people are supposed to be equal under the law, but Eddie and other people of color lack the advantages that white Americans have and find that prejudice and racism often determines how they are treated by those white others. It is a United States where the blood of people like Eddie and Jose is spilled much more often than the blood of more privileged whites.

The image of the crucifix, like the one Angel wears around his neck (which Eddie first points out when he speaks with Angel early in the novel), is another recurring image. This image seems significant as a result of its irony. Crucifixes are often worn by characters who do not behave in very Christian ways. Of Angel, Eddie says, "He lived at home, his eyes leveled to the television, a gun in his sock drawer, and a crucifix chained around his neck. When he needed money, he stole or ran a scam on someone." Wearing a crucifix would seem to signify that the wearer is a follower of Christ, that they value the same things that Christ did—love and peace, nonviolence and acceptance—so it is ironic that people who are very violent often seem to wear the crucifix.

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