Topics for Discussion

1. Why was Maria particularly bothered by her sons’ exhibiting what she considered inappropriate behavior around Ultima?

2. Why was it so important for Tony to tell Florence the Legend of the Golden Carp?

3. Discuss how Tony’s family epitomizes the typical Mexican family.

4. What is the significance of Ultima using “black magic” to help Tio Lucas? What does this reveal about the dividing line between evil and goodness?

5. Why does Tony bury Ultima’s owl under the juniper tree?

6. What does Ultima give Tony that his family cannot?

7. Why is Tony haunted by the Legend of the Golden Carp?

8. Ultima plays the role of midwife in Tony’s birth. Can you explain the symbolism of this role. Do you think Anaya was alluding to more than Tony’s physical birth?

9. What is the significance of Ultima’s name?

10. In what way does Ultima bless Tony?