With The Hooting Of The Owl

1053 words - 4 pages

“In the dark mist of my dreams I saw my brothers. The three dark figures silently beckoned me to follow them. They led me over the goat path, across the bridge, to the house of the sinful women. We walked across the well-worn path in silence. The door to Rosie’s house opened and…” (Anaya 70) This excerpt from the novel Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya, is one of the numerous dreams the protagonist Antonio Márez experiences. The story is set during World War II in Guadalupe, Mexico, a town rich with Mexican culture and overflowing with legends. Antonio attempts to discover his religion and family roots as he struggles to cope with school. When he witnesses four tragic deaths, Anaya vividly depicts the shattering of his innocence. Even with worry enveloping him, six-year-old Antonio manages to sleep with the calming hoots of Ultima’s owl. And he has magical dreams. Antonio’s dreams add to his characterization by providing readers with an insight into his mind, explaining his internal disharmony, and foreshadowing future events.
Antonio’s dream of Rosie’s house, a local brothel, reveals his conflicting thoughts in becoming a priest and forebodes the sinful ways of his brothers. From the beginning of the novel, there has always been a certain assumption that Antonio will become a priest and follow in the footsteps of his mother’s family. His mother, who is a continual source of guidance and support, relentlessly reminds him that his future lies in priesthood. “You will be like my brothers. You will be a Luna, Antonio. You will be a man of the people, and perhaps a priest” (9). Furthermore, when the family goes to visit El Puerto, the town of his mother’s relatives, Antonio is reminded again of this family duty. Uncle Juan comments about him, “In that one there’s hope…After his first communion you must send him to us. He must stay with us a summer, he must learn our ways—before he is lost like the others” (49). As a young six-year-old boy, Antonio feels burdened by the expectations of what his future will entail and fears he will be lost like his brothers. In his dream, his wavering thoughts of entering the building reflect his internal conflict in staying pure against sinful temptations. For instance, he starts imagining the scandalous women inside the building until he yells to himself, “No…I cannot enter [Rosie’s house], I cannot think these thoughts. I am to be a priest” (70). Even though he feels that his “innocence is forever,” the illicit images of the young girls at Rosie’s flashing through his mind illustrate the deep-rooted confusion he is facing (71). What is even more shocking is when he later sees Andrew, one of his brothers, at the brothel exactly as his dream had foretold. Antonio’s reaction to seeing his brother at Rosie’s is both a combination of insight and horror. “I felt…free, as if the wind had picked me up and carried me away… the realization of the truth discovered swept over me” (164). After wondering for months why his...

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