Always Running


Luis J. Rodriguez

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Tattoos Symbol Icon

There aren’t many conspicuous symbols in Always Running, but one exception is the tattoo that Luis Rodriguez gets in junior high school. The tattoo, which says, “Mi Vida Loca” (literally, “my crazy life”), is meant to be a symbol of Luis’s loyalty to the gang world. La Vida Loca is Los Angeles slang for the life of a gang member, or cholo. By tattooing the words on his body permanently, Luis sends a clear message that he’s willing to live this kind of life indefinitely and without looking back.

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Tattoos Symbol Timeline in Always Running

The timeline below shows where the symbol Tattoos appears in Always Running. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...him. Luis’s next girlfriend, Marina, encourages his cholo activities and even suggests he get a tattoo. The tattoo, on Luis’s arm, shows a cross with the words “Mi Vida Loca.” (full context)
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
...doesn't spend more time with gangs. But by this time Luis is thirteen and already “tattooed,” “sexually involved,” and “into drugs.” (full context)