Symbolism in “Bless Me, Ultima”

The novel “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya describes relations between an old healer Ultima and a young boy Antonio who is troubled about uncertainty of his life. “Bless Me, Ultima” is highly symbolical novel. The author uses different colors, figures, numbers and objects to represent abstract ideas and concepts. The novel teaches readers not to interfere with the destiny of any person not to change the cosmic order.

However, Ultima dares to influence the destiny and her death at the end of the novel is symbolical representation that every person should be responsible for his own actions.In order to understand better the symbolism of the golden carp it is necessary to analyze relations between Antonio and Ultima. Antonio is the main hero in the novel who decides to reconcile his conflicting religious and cultural identity. Antonio is only six years old, but he is extraordinary child with questioning mind, appreciation of life, and moral curiosity. Antonio is willing to understand the world. And it is Ultima who teaches how to remain morally independent, to receive knowledge from all available traditions and to refrain from prejudices and limitations.

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Therefore, the golden carp is provided with symbolic meaning. As for me, the golden carp is symbolical representation of magical religious order which is hardly associated with Catholicism. Golden carp symbolizes new knowledge which is free of prejudices and limitations. The legend about golden carp offers main characters and readers moral guidance, brand of wisdom and comfort.

Golden carp supports author’s idea that cultural traditions are different, but they are equally valid.Antonio firstly rejects the golden carp as he thinks that in such a way he abandons God. However, later he realizes that golden carp can help to weave cultural and religious sources together in creating his won identity. Golden carp teaches Antonio that there is no single decision or opinion and that the person should embrace new spaces to comprehend complexity of the world, changeability of human relations and, finally, truth.Works CitedAnaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima.

New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1994.