orange of the golden carp appeared at the edge of the pond. . .
. We watched in silence at the beauty and grandeur of the great
fish. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw Cico hold his hand to
his breast as the golden carp glided by. Then with a switch of his
powerful tail the golden carp disappeared into the shadowy water
under the thicket.
This quotation from Chapter 11 is
Antonio’s description of his first sighting of the golden carp.
The quotation is important because it represents Antonio’s most
significant confrontation with a non-Christian faith. Stylistically,
it is also an important example of how Anaya adapts his prose style
to the emotional and psychological contexts of his characters’ situations.
The golden carp is a natural, pagan deity compared to the Christian
God Antonio is used to worshipping.
Anaya depicts the carp in a poetic style that emphasizes
its awe-inspiring beauty, rather than focus immediately on the crisis
of faith that the carp causes for Antonio. The language Anaya uses
to describe the carp is simple, elemental, and powerful. Anaya chooses to
have the narrator describe the carp rather than have Antonio tell us
about it. This distance conveys the reverence that the carp inspires
in the boys, who observe the carp in transfixed silence. Cico even
puts his hand on his heart, a subtle gesture that conveys the depth
of feeling that the carp inspires in the boys.