What is the main conflict in One Day of Life?

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In this work by Manilo Argueta, the conflict is one of the people vs. oppression. This oppression, the use of power to torture individuals and/or social class with little to no power, is highlighted by the author's depiction of a family who endures the oppression of the government and the Salvadorean government.

Adolfina Guardado witnesses this oppression when she leaves a demonstration and then later witnesses an execution. Helio Hernandez, Adolfina’s father, disappears and is never heard from again. Disappearances were common during the war. Justino is executed at The Detour and is mercilessly decapitated. One incident occurs after another to highlight the theme of oppression.

Perhaps the worst internal conflict occurs when Guadalupe denies her husband, Jose, and says, "And that's why you opened your eye when I had denied you, because I had already done the most difficult thing. I took it as a greeting, as if you were saying, 'Thank you, Lupe...'" (Argueta 1984:192). Oppression and its devastating effects drive this work and are the author's main messages.

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The book One Day of Life was written by Manilo Argueta and was banned by the El Salvadorian government. The book focuses on the main character, Guadalupe Guardado during the civil war in El Salvador. The main focus of the novel is Guadalupe and her family attempting to survive during the start of the civil war and the moral choices that are difficult to make.

The main conflict within the novel is that of love versus survival, what is one willing to do in order to maintain self-preservation? During the course of the novel Guadalupe’s husband Jose becomes involved in the revolution after their son is killed by the government and has abandoned his family to fight for his cause. At the end of the novel Guadalupe sees a man being beaten by the authorities and recognizes the man has her husband. In this case both members of the family have chosen to fight for their beliefs, the father through the revolution after the death of his son and Guadalupe by remaining silent to preserve what remains of her family when she sees her husband.

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