Buried Onions by Gary Soto
Eddie, a young Mexican American, fights to make
something of himself in Fresno, California. Reeling
from the death of his father, his best friend, and his
cousin, he must wage a constant battle against
negative community influences (guns, drugs, lack of opportunity, cultural stereotypes).
Facing his own ennui, he often feels there is no hope. In the beginning chapters, friends
and relatives coax him to pick up guns and avenge his cousin's death. Yet, Eddie is
determined to survive in this world where all seems against him.
All he wants is to forget his violent past, hold down an honest job, and walk a straight
line. But Eddie, pressured by his aunt and friends of his cousin to avenge his cousin’s
death, finds himself slipping closer and closer to a dangerous and violent end.
Set in a poor barrio, where heat vapors swelter from the asphalt and thirteen-year-old
boys carry knives, Buried Onions is the tale of a teenager trying to escape the influences
of the gangs and violence around him. But making an honest living proves to be easier
said than done. A richly felt first-person narrative guides us through Eddie’s coming of
age, from universal adolescent experiences like flirting with pretty girls and trying to
find a job to inner-city trials like knife threats and police arrests. Gary Soto’s poignant
novel and moving narrative allow all teenagers to relate to the gritty reality of Eddie’s
See Attached Lesson Plan
Buried Onions Lesson Plan
At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
9-12 Benchmark I-A: Listen to, read, react to, and analyze information
Performance Standards 10 – 2: Respond reflectively (through small group discussion and
journal writing) to written text.
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
Interpret a passage and discuss the metaphor of the onion referred to in the passage.
Understand the relationship between the buried onion Eddie imagin