The Presence Of Complementary Oppositions In Ultima


The Presence Of Complementary Oppositions In Ultima Essay, Research Paper

According to the Taoist believes, everything in the universe exists as the Yin Yang relationship. Yin and Yang, the pair of complimentary opposites, merge with each other to form the perfect circle of unity. Ying would not have existed if there was no Yang, and vice versa. The concept of Yin Yang is presented throughout the novel, Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya. By illustrating the presence of the complimentary opposites within both the characters and the natural elements, Anaya effectively conveys the theme of universal unity of the balanced opposites.

An essential pair of natural elements that exists as the complimentary opposites in this novel is the moon and the sea. The moon, with its beams of the mellow light, is often considered to be gentle and mild. Alternatively, the sea, with its violent waves, is frequently anticipated to be wild and reckless. Antonio, in his dream at the end of chapter 11, is confused about whether he belongs to the salt water of the sea or the sweet water of the moon. (120) Here Anaya uses the imagery of two opposite tastes to show the difference between the sea and the moon. Later in the dream Ultima teaches Antonio that the sweet water of the moon K fill the seas and the salt water of the ocean K become again the waters of the moon. (121) Deriving from that, one can see that the moon and the sea are completely opposite to each other; yet they are woven together in the broader picture. The moon will not be complete without the sea, just as the sea will have no tides without the moon, both supplementing each other. The theme of the union of the two opposites is symbolized by the moon and the sea.

The fusion of the sea and the moon can also be reflected upon the characters. Anaya intelligently mixes the blood of Marez, the people of the sea, together with the blood of the seemingly different Lunas, the people of the moon, to form the Marez family. Gabriel Marez represents the Marez blood; while his wife, Maria Marez, portrays the blood of the Lunas. The Marez are exuberant like the land and as restless as the sea , while the Lunas are moderate and quiet like the moon. (6, 41) Through the use of similes, Anaya has effectively and vividly drawn the link from the sea to the Marez and as well from the moon to the Lunas. These similes also present the distinct opposite characteristics of the two bloods. In Antonio s dream at the end of Chapter 11, Gabriel shout[s] as Maria croon[s] softly. (120) The imagery and the word choice immediately point out the fact that in contrast the Lunas are more feminine and the Marez are more masculine. However, interestingly, there are times when Maria proves to be more masculine and Gabriel more feminine. When going to the mass, Maria shows forcefulness when she leads [her family] with her swift proud walk. (33) As tough a man as Gabriel is, he still cry[s] because the war ha[s] ruined his dream. (14) Despite the fact that Maria and Gabriel were born purely of the Luna and Marez blood, they still have a bit of each other in themselves. Maria and Gabriel, each having very dissimilar characteristics as a result of the their distinct backgrounds, are able to marry and live happily together. The two compensate for what the other lacks, as one provides protection and one provides the love and care for the family. The Marez couple is the perfect example of the complementary oppositions in characters, as it suggests to the readers that the unity of balanced opposites is indeed universal.

As the rule of complementary opposites exists in characters, it is also inferred to be true with the gods. A resemblance of the Marez couple in the heavens is God with the Virgin. God [is] not always forgiving while the Virgin always forgives. (44) God is a giant man who has a terrible voice like thunder echo[ing] through the skies. (44, 173) While the Virgin [is] a woman with a sweet and gentle voice Kfull of a quiet peaceful love. (44) From the above excerpts, we can clearly see Anaya s word choice in effect. God is described with forceful words such as terrible , thunder , and giant ; while the Virgin is described with soft words such as sweet , gentle , quiet , and peaceful. The difference between God and the Virgin is evidently emphasized through the detailed description by the writer. The opposite qualities of God and the Virgin are all possessed by Ultima. Ultima is powerful like God for she command[s] the power from the heavens and the power from the earth obey[s] her.(120,121) Ultima s own death is predicted by herself at the beginning of the book, as she knows she has come to spend the last days of [her] life [in the Llano]. Anaya s use of foreshadowing here shows that Ultima also shares God s omniscience. Ultima forgives like she does with Antonio as he calls her using her name the first time they met. However, Ultima can be unforgiving as she punishes Tenorio s daughters with death. The motherly love of Maria and the Virgin are found in Ultima as she takes care of Antonio with her soft hands and gives him careful guidance. (40,15) As the resemblance of a perfect being in the novel, Ultima is the combination of the balanced opposites of God and the Virgin. Because Ultima has the quality of both male and female, she is perfect. Ultima herself is an example of achieving perfect unity through the merging of two complementary opposites.

The Yin and the Yang, the moon and the sea, the male and female, the violent and the passive, are just a few examples of the balanced opposites existing in our world. Creation of such unity is through the existing of the two separate elements. The philosophy of the Yin Yang relation and the universal perfect unity is definitely a subtle yet significant theme of the novel. It is certainly amazing to imagine that everything around us is only a fraction of a part in the great cycle that binds us all. (121)

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