Four “D” words come to my mind when I think of Gary Soto’s book Buried Onions--Despair, danger, death, and decisions. The setting offers only despair. Eddie and the other characters in the book have no hope for a better life.
Danger is ever-present because of the gangs. Eddie’s aunt encourages him to face danger and become dangerous himself by seeking revenge for the death of his cousin.
Eddie’s cousin died, and the possibility of death is always present.
Eddie’s future depends on the decisions he makes. He can remain in that setting and become like the gang members, or he can make the decision to get out by joining the military.