The 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.