The episode of the Christmas play shows the multiple ways in which children relate with one another; Antonio’s friends are neither entirely negative nor entirely positive forces. Although their teasing can frequently be brutal, they are also able to include Antonio in their games. In contrast to the adult world of the novel, forgiveness is easy to come by among the children. Antonio frequently wrestles with difficult issues in his family life, and his friendships with his classmates function as a way for him to escape those pressures.

Antonio’s sighting of Andrew at Rosie’s house connects reality with Antonio’s earlier unreal dream scene. Although the dream presented an idealized version of Andrew, Antonio is forced to relinquish this image of Andrew when he sees him at Rosie’s house. In Antonio’s dream, Andrew promises not to enter the brothel until Antonio loses his innocence. If Andrew’s entrance into the brothel in this chapter means that Antonio has indeed lost his innocence, then it means that Antonio has lost his childish, innocent worldview, rather than his sexual innocence. As Antonio grows up, he begins to see the complexity of making moral decisions; he is no longer innocently able to assume that right and wrong are absolute categories.

Performing the Catholic Act of Final Contrition for Narciso symbolically places Antonio in the role of priest, connecting Narciso’s death to Lupito’s, during which Antonio heard Lupito’s final confession. With Narciso the experience is different because Antonio personally knows Narciso; Lupito is a stranger. Antonio’s dream illustrates how this experience furthers the development of his sense of spirituality and morality. Again, the dream deals with forgiveness, sin, and punishment. The elements of betrayal and vengeance further complicate the matter. It is possible that Andrew’s refusal to help Narciso indirectly leads to Narciso’s death. The refusal might have led to Antonio’s death if Tenorio’s gun hadn’t misfired. Therefore, Antonio himself is dealing with feelings of betrayal. God’s response to Antonio’s request that he forgive Andrew is wrathful. Throughout this conflict, God functions in Antonio’s dream as an alter ego for Antonio. He symbolizes the part of Antonio that has difficulty forgiving Andrew for letting him down.

Another effect of Antonio’s entrance into adolescence is his ability to confront his own imperfections and become curious about religion. Antonio realizes that his desire for vengeance against Tenorio might be unfair. Antonio cannot realistically expect to avoid the darker side of human emotions. Because he dreams that a mob calls out for Ultima’s blood, Antonio subconsciously acknowledges that his desire for revenge against Tenorio is just as savage. His dream is also the first in which he himself dies. Antonio’s dream also demonstrates that he has gained a greater understanding of Cico’s religion. The golden carp’s apocalyptic prophecy depressed and frightened him because it seemed so fatalistic. However, his dream shows him how Cico’s religion contains the promise of salvation as well.