Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month: March 2016

Monthly Reads from ASU-Beebe Students, Faculty and Staff.

Faculty/Staff/Student Favorites

Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.

Featured ASU-Beebe Faculty Member:: David Jones

David Jones

About David

Dr. David Jones is Assistant Professor of English at ASU-Beebe.

About the Book

Manlio Argueta’s novel One Day of Life (Un día en la vida)

Review by David Jones, PhD

I read this novel on a recent trip to El Salvador. I had been looking for a work that would help bring me closer to El Salvador’s culture and history. This certainly did.

The novel follows one day in the life of Guadalupe, a Salvadoran peasant during the short period preceding El Salvador’s civil war (1980-1992). Her husband, like many rural Salvadorans, labors for wealthy, oppressive landowners who pay a pittance and strive to keep education minimal. Guadalupe and her family passively accept their lot until missionary priests present a different possible reality and encourage the communities to resist the powerful landowners by demanding better wages, education and other rights. This endangers the elite’s labor supply, and the government responds with swift murder and brutal torture.

The novel illuminates the human realities that led to El Salvador’s civil war. While not difficult to read, One Day of Life is often difficult to stomach. Guadalupe represents the average, rural Salvadoran who simply wanted a better life but was caught between a government violently enforcing a feudal economy and a Marxist insurgency.

While the author supports the insurgents’ cause, he does not insist readers take a political position. He rather promotes sympathy with individuals outside of political movements who simply want food, education and to enjoy their families without fear.

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