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.