Symbolism In Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima

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Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima is a magical-realism novel about Antonio, a young boy at the mere age of six turning seven, realizing the many cruelties the world has to offer. As he matures, Antonio is conflicted while trying to choose between the career expectations from his two divergent families and attempting to figure out a true religion. Anaya depicts hidden messages to help the reader comprehend a perceptive insight of Antonio’s inner schism through symbolism. Ultima’s owl was an imperative symbol in Antonio’s younger years, and its symbolism helped established a deeper understanding for the reader of the many positive themes that the author portrays through Ultima. “My heart was pounding and my lungs heart, but a calmness had come…show more content…
Antonio prefers the river for company rather than any other place in town; therefore, he was devastated when a misfortunate event tarnished his memory of this beloved landmark. “How would I ever wash away the stain of blood from the sweet waters of my river!” (23). Antonio has established an ardent relationship with the river, yet the tragedy of Lupito’s death ruins the serenity that accompanies his memory of that breathtaking location. The series of events that play out all take place at or around the river, which proves symbolic of the correlation that the people have with that area. Not only does it often stand as the setting of many occasions, the river also is a recurring figure in Antonio’s dreams. “...that the sweet water of the moon which falls as rain is the same water that gathers into rivers and flows to fill the seas.”(121). The river in Antonio’s dream denotes the connection between his two completely opposite families all intercorrelated by Earth. Through the river, there is a unique peace and unity, similar to Antonio bringing his own uniqueness as he upholds and represents his two families. From a feeling of oneness to placidity, the river represents a variety of themes that prove significant in Antonio’s paramount transition from a child to an adult, many of which help the reader understand the crucial role…show more content…
Through this theme, the author hoped to denote the importance of religion and sins. Antonio is the perfect delineation of the irrefutable desires of man when he says, “And although I did not feel good about it, I ate the golden carrot. I had never eaten anything sweeter or juicier in my life.” (Anaya, 109). Despite knowing that it is a sin to take something of someone else’s without permission, Antonio, even if reluctant, still chooses to consume the carrot. He, being a religious boy who firmly believes in always performing good deeds, still chooses to indulge in wrongdoing and even ends up enjoying it. Antonio’s perspective on god significantly changes after discussing sins with Florence; “there seemed to be so many pitfalls in the questions we asked…would the knowledge of the answers make me share in the original sin of Adam and Eve?” (113). Similar to the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Antonio consumes a vegetable that was not meant for him. He firmly believes that what happened in the Garden of Eden was a result of the irrevocable habit of man to sin; a habit now being attained to Antonio as well. However, shortly after performing this act which was almost identical to that of Adam and Eve, Antonio starts to question the beliefs
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