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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 221

The story of a woman dealing with the Salvadoran Civil War, called One Day of Life, is by Manlio Argueta. The novel is set right before the war starts in 1979, and there are a number of quotes that you can use to characterize parts of this novel about strife and pain.

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For example, there’s this one that reads, “No one forgets his pain, that’s a lie. It’s buried there in memory and remains in you forever.” Considering that this novel ends with the main character, Guadalupe, having to pretend to not know her own husband in order to save her life, quotes like these are highly relevant.

There are plenty of themes in the novel related to bad things happening around the characters that the characters can’t do much about, and a good example of this is when Guadalupe’s husband, Jose, participates in the civil war and goes into hiding until he’s caught.

There are some strong opinions in the novel from characters as well, such as the one that reads, “We call our worst enemies dogs, but they don’t deserve it because dogs are the friends of man.” This is a characterization of the forces of the government in the war as being inhuman in the way they treat their fellow human beings.

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