How do the decisions that Luis makes relate to the inequities in the social structure in Always Running?

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Always Running is Luis Rodriguez's memoir about growing up and joining gangs in Los Angeles. Rodriguez might not have thought in these terms, but the inequality present in Los Angeles society was the main driver behind many of his decisions in the story. While social pressures drive his decision to...

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Always Running is Luis Rodriguez's memoir about growing up and joining gangs in Los Angeles. Rodriguez might not have thought in these terms, but the inequality present in Los Angeles society was the main driver behind many of his decisions in the story. While social pressures drive his decision to join gangs early in the story, his later moves to work in protest of the system are also driven by social pressure and his cognizance of inequality.

In chapter 2 of the book, Rodriguez reveals that he felt the pressure from every direction. He shows the pressure through the story of playing basketball with his friend Tino. The boys have to break into a school to play, and the police catch them. Rodriguez explains how society brought pressure on him:

It never stopped, this running. We were constant prey, and the hunters soon became big blurs: the police, the gangs, the junkies, the dudes on Garvey Boulevard who took our money, all smudged into one. Sometimes they were teachers who jumped on us Mexicans as if we were born with a hideous stain. We were always afraid. Always running.

The pressure from every direction, brought about because of his race, is what eventually pushes him to join the Tribe. If he had not felt the discrimination and angst of the police and teachers or the danger of being unprotected against gangs, he might not have joined a gang. However, it is the racism and inequality he faced growing up in LA that makes joining a gang seem like a good opportunity.

Eventually, Rodriguez realizes that gang life isn't protecting him from the pressure of society. He attends college and begins to join movements toward bringing about social equality. He eventually realizes that it is going to be through political action that real change will come, and he moves to organize and participate in protests and demonstrations.

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