Bless Me Ultima - Dreams

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