Antonio is a young boy, and is learning what it means to be Latino as well as Catholic. One of the more troubling questions about death for Antonio is what happens to babies who die before they are baptized? In the Catholic tradition, especially in those days, babies were thought to go into "limbo", neither in heaven nor hell. While this is somewhat reassuring to Antonio, it is difficult for him to get past the idea that babies who are innocent, and had no role in their own death cannot get into heaven.
Early in the book Tony witnesses the death of Lupito, who is hunted down by a posse of vigilantes for killing the Sheriff. While it is commonly accepted by the townspeople that Lupito, who is suffering from mental illness, has to die, Tony naturally feels sorry for him, and is forced at such a young age to contemplate death once again.