Why does Eddie drop out of college in Gary Soto's novel Buried Onions?
Eddie, the protagonist and narrator in Gary Soto's novel Buried Onions, is searching for something. Above all, he is looking to separate himself from the poverty and violence of the neighborhood in southeast Fresno where he grew up. When the novel opens he is at Fresno City College where he tells the reader he has recently dropped out of his classes and is going to sell his textbooks. Eddie never gives an explicit answer as to why he dropped out, but the reader may assume that college did not fulfill his wish to break away from his childhood.
At one point in chapter three he sits in on a class at the college because he sees a guy with yellow shoes, who might be the murderer of his cousin, Juan. Eddie comments that it was just like high school with most of the students not listening. It's the childhood he's trying to leave behind. He also tries working, but once again the old problems from the neighborhood disrupt his ability to form a new life. In the end, he turns to the military and, in the final lines of the novel, as he is holding the onions of the title, he says he will cry the last of his childhood tears.