In chapter 1, Eddie remarks that he has thought about seeing his dead friend Juan in heaven "or some dream that was close to heaven." He later comments that "If hard work is the road to salvation, heaven must be packed with a lot of people from Fresno." Both citations suggest that Eddie's attitude toward heaven is one of uncertainty. If heaven is the promise of salvation following struggle, then Eddie cannot see redemption beyond the social problems that plague his community.
Eddie is primarily concerned not with the afterlife but rather the daily struggle to survive in his impoverished community. The novel shows that there are no easy paths to success for Eddie, who in the end cannot escape the buried onion beneath the city that represents the tragic condition of Fresno's inhabitants.