Through the pages of the novel, Rodríguez describes how he became a gang-banger, and then went from being a gang-banger to a leader and a positive force in the community. Discuss his motivations and struggles in becoming a gang-banger and how he changes. What influences him to become a gang-banger? Why does he stay in the gang? What crimes or activities was he reluctant to commit? What causes him to change and turn away from that life? Who is the book written for? And is Rodríguez successful in his goals?
A question you do not need to address, but which you should keep in mind as you read and write about the stories, themes, and style of this book is: Is this a specifically Latino story, or is it a universal one? In what ways?
You might focus on different themes. Turning points; how he changes and takes on new roles, how he deals with moral and ethical quandries that he faces. How much freedom do we have to make certain choices? What constrains Luis in these choices? What are the social forces at play?
Please be sure to refer to the sections of the book by page number and the edition of the book that you are using. If there are themes of subordination or empowerment in the arts or other material that we have studied this semester, you may wish to refer to them as well.