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”Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 436
  • Category: Symbolism

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In Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, the golden carp is a symbol that contributes to a theme in the novel.
The golden carp represents many things. It symbolizes a magical religious order not related to Catholicism. Antonio learns about the fish’s presence when Samuel tells him about some God in the waters. When Antonio finally is shown to the golden carp god by Cico, he is scared and doesn’t reject the idea. This is because at the beginning of the book, he feels he is abandoning God and showing interest of the golden carp, which is also supposed to be a God. During the book he relies on the carp for giving him knowledge and a sense of mind because he doesn’t know which god to believe in. He can’t decide whether to believe in the God of church, or the God of beauty and peace. At the end of the book, he realizes he can still believe in two gods.

Another symbol that the golden carp represents is of beauty and peace. Antonio meanders toward the golden carp’s lake to find peace and harmony. The carp assuages Antonio from his daily problems like becoming a man and what he should become as a man. Antonio believes that this carp is a peacemaker. It gives him a peace of mind and soul and all of his worries are obliterated. The carp actually gives everyone who sees it peace. Samuel, Cico, Antonio, and many others who believe in the fish come to it to find tranquility. “We watched in silence at the beauty and grandeur of the great fish.”

The two symbols that the golden carp represents helps contribute to the theme of bildungsroman in this novel. Antonio is at the age where he starts to mature. He starts to understand things and his maturity is growing. The discovery of the golden carp and how he goes there to empty his thoughts and find peace boosts the rate at which his maturity grows. Antonio is already as mature and maybe even more than his classmates, who are already two years older than Antonio himself. The golden carp helps Antonio because it gives him tranquility and peace of mind. Antonio learns that he doesn’t have to believe only in the god of church, but any god he wants to believe in. The carp shows Antonio the beauty of life and his surroundings.

The golden carp symbolizes two important things, a religious order different from Catholicism, and beauty and tranquility. The symbols the golden carp represent help convey the theme of coming of age.

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