Symbols Of Water Themes In Bless Me, Ultima

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Izzie Herzog Bless Me, Ultima Analysis Rivers provide life in the most desolate of places. They bring the frigid, sky-fallen rain from the frozen mountain lakes to the sunbathed ocean, and give life and sustenance to every ecosystem and civilization on their path. However, in Bless Me, Ultima, the river is a symbol for the experience of life, more than just breathing and moving. Antonio’s river is his life, and it flows through his story just as his life does. The geography of rivers is important to their symbolism in this story. Antonio’s river starts from a lake, a place of no morals; studies prove that infants are selfish beyond belief, and so is water at its birth. His river carries the water to the ocean, the place where all water lands, carrying the blood and salt and debris that it picks up on its long journey. All high rivers go to the ocean, no matter how many lakes they go through. The ocean is where water goes to die, until its spirit, in clean water, is carried through the clouds back into the frigid mountain lakes, where it is born again. This is the cycle of water, and the cycle of life. A clear theme in Bless Me, Ultima is Antonio’s struggle to find who he is amidst two sides of himself: the Lunas and the vaqueros. He fears for his future, where he believes he will have to decide between the two parts of himself, and inevitably disappoint one half of the people in his life. He fears what his life will be. He fears the river. This all changes when Ultima arrives. She teaches him to love the presence of the river, and to love his life however it may come. She shows him that the river is the lifeblood of the herbs she uses to heal and save, and that he can use his life to help others as well. But her spirit, in the owl, also shows him that life, and the river, can be very dangerous (Anaya, 14). As haunting as Antonio finds the owl, it is Lupito’s death that shows him his first horror in life. He sees the blood in the river, the blood on Lupito, and throughout the whole scene he hears the ever-present “lapping of the river” (20), as if the river was lapping up Lupito’s blood and his life like a thirsty dog. He is faced with, again, the difficult division between two identities: man and
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