Symbolism In Dreams, From The Book Bless Me Ultima Essay, Research Paper
Symbolism in Dreams
In Rudolfo Anaya s Bless Me, Ultima, the author uses Tony s dreams as a way of displaying various symbols. Three symbols that are used often are weather, water, and the Golden Carp. Weather is used to represent conflict. Water represents cleansing, and rejuvenation. The Golden Carp symbolizes religion and Tony s beliefs. Because dreams are a not an exact mirror of reality, they become the perfect tool for introducing symbolism. The author uses the dream as a way to access the recurring themes of the book.
Weather affects the lives of everyone. When the weather turns foul, it makes life more difficult. Stormy weather in Tony s dreams represents the conflict in his life, and the lives of those around him. One example of the weather in his dreams is the wind. In one of Tony s dreams the wind is used to represent conflict that disrupts the peace that is a still lake. There was a howling wind as the moon rose and it s powers pulled at the still waters of the lake. (Anaya 120) The wind here is used to represent forces of disturbance caused by nuclear testing taking place south of the town, just as wind kicks up dust and blurs the view. Another element of storms is thunder and lightning. In Tony s dream he sees, …..a flash of lightning struck and out of the thunder a dark figure stepped forth. It was Ultima……I sought more answers, but she was gone, evaporated into a loud noise. (Anaya 71) Lightning can offer glimpses of illumination, but then darkness returns, and the noise of the thunder that follows deafens the ears. This represents the moments of good that can occur within the midst of conflict. Ultima s appearance gives Tony a glimpse of where he needs to search for innocence, but he is still confused from this encounter. He continues to search for answers. Another significant weather occurrence is the appearance of mist. The mist swirled around me. I was at the river, and I heard someone calling my name. I peered into the dark mist but I could see no one. (Anaya 61) Just as the mist leaves a person feeling isolated, the mist represents the war and how it left Tony separated from his brothers. Weather, in the form of wind, thunder and lightning, and mist, provides powerful symbolism for the conflicts in Tony s life.
Cleansing and rejuvenation are themes that are suggested by the author, and symbolized through the use of water. In one of his dreams, Tony refers to the waters of the river, I must lift the muddy waters of the river in blessing to our new home! (Anaya 26) The cleansing qualities of the river show Tony s desire to put the tragic happenings of his life behind him, and begin anew. His desire is to be washed clean from the haunting memories if Lupito s death. Another reference to water is the waters of baptism. In Tony s dream his parents argue about what water he was baptized in. Oh please tell me which is the water that runs through my veins. (Anaya120) The waters of baptism represent cleansing, but in the dream his parents argue over whether he was baptized with the holy water of the moon, or the salt water from the oceans. This represents his parent s pulling him in two opposite directions. Later in this dream Ultima explains to both of Tony s parents that in reality both of their waters are the same. This shows that Tony is rejuvenated by the idea that he dose not have to choose between one parent or another, but can take the best of both of them. Because of the water Tony is able to live his life better. The final example of water being usedas a symbol is in one of
Tony s final dreams. He talks about his brother s livers, They cried in such pain for release that I took their livers from the hook and cast them into the raging, muddy waters of the River of the Carp. Then they rested, and I rested. ( Anaya 235) This quote shows that because Antonio can not stop his brothers from their reckless wondering he instead casts their livers in to the river. This rejuvenates his brothers because it gives them a new look on life. Because Tony did this he was able to clean his brother from these thoughts of wondering. Through out Bless Me Ultima the author shows the reader how water can symbolize cleanliness, and rejuvenation by becoming an icon for life
Through out all of Tony s dreams the most significant symbol is the Golden Carp. The Carp stands as a symbol of Tony s strong belief, and the power of religion in the everyday lives of normal people. An example of this is when Tony s mother and father are arguing in his dreams about who Tony really is, It is the water that binds you to the pagan god of Cico, the golden carp! (Anaya 120) This quote shows how in Tony s life basically revolves around the golden carp. In this quote it shows that Tony s mother wants her son to be drawn to the carp because she knows the religious power that it has. The carp, in this quote, represents the Luna family because of their strong sense of religion. Another example of the Golden Carp s symbolism is when Tony is in the river, and his brothers are calling him and asking him to save them, But you have the power of the church, you are the boy priest! they cried. Or choose from the power of the golden carp or the magic of your Ultima. Grant us rest! (Anaya 234) This quote shows the power that the carp has. When his brothers ask him to save them they also know the power of the carp. Tony s brothers know that the carp has the power to save them. Another example of the religious power of the golden carp is in one of Tony s final dreams, Look! He pointed to the creek where Cico lay in wait for the golden carp. When the golden carp appeared Cico struck with his spear and the water ran blood red. (Anaya 244) This dream shows how the carp represents gods. During this dream Florence tells Tony that all the gods are dying. Tony had this dream because his faith in religion was dying. After all the death he had seen he can t really trust the gods because they continue to let people that are close to him die. Tony s belief in the power of the carp is beginning to fade here because he can not understand why the carp, and God continue to let people die. Tony knows what the carp represents, so he blames the carp for these deaths. All of these quotes show how the Golden Carp represents the power, and the importance of Tony s religion. The Golden Carp was the most important religious symbol in Bless Me Ultima.
In Rudolfo Anaya s Bless Me Ultima, the other uses Tony s dreams to show the reader symbols of conflict, rejuvenation, and religion. The weather in this story is used to represent conflict. Weather is shown in Tony s dreams to represent conflicts in his life. Water is used to represent cleanliness in rejuvenation. We all use water to clean ourselves, but in this book water is shown to clean the mind, body, and soul. The Golden Carp is shown to be a symbol of Tony s religion. The carp is a symbol that Tony turns to for answers in his life. In all of Tony s dreams the reader is able to gain a better understanding of Tony s life through the use of symbols in Tony s dreams.