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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
Anaya plots the novel according to the seasons of the year. The novel has the rhythm of the seasons.
It opens in the spring when Ultima comes. It ends after the harvest time in the Fall when Ultima dies.
In between, at least two years pass. Antonio goes to his first year of school, skips second grade, and goes to his third year of school. School occurs in winter, the time when children are not needed on the farms.
The summers are spent by the sacred river, learning the lore of herbs with Ultima, and learning the legend of the golden carp with Cico and Samuel. The church calendar also works according to the seasons.
The novel takes the reader from Lent, through Ash Wednesday, to Easter Sunday. Then the reader sees the Christmas pageant put on at Antonio’s school. Each of these events is tied to a season, especially Easter, the time of spring and resurrection.
Over the course of these short years, Antonio grows immensely in maturity, though he is quite mature even at the opening of the novel.