Discuss the portrayal and the importance of the landscape, especially the river and the llano.How it effects the reader, and give specifics from the text. Thanks!
The novel centers around a people and culture that have been in this region for a very long time, and so their tie to the land their families have lived on for generations is an intimate one. They know it very well, and in the case of Ultima, the landscape, the plants and the animals are an integral part of her power.
The landscape Anaya describes is also connected to the two different Latino cultures within Antonio's own family, as his father's family, the Marez, vaqueros who crave adventure and a nomadic lifestyle, compete with the way of life of Tony's mother's family, the Lunas, and their tie to the land, agriculture and the church.
From the novel (and the Study Guide on eNotes):
We lived two different lives, your mother and I. I came from a people who held the wind as brother, because he is free, and the horse as companion, because he is the living, fleeting wind—and your mother, well, she came from men who hold the earth as brother. They are a steady, settled people. We have been at odds all of our lives, the wind and the earth. Perhaps it is time we gave up the old differences. . . . Every generation, every man is a part of his past. He cannot escape it, but he may reform the old materials, make something new.
The river is a source of consistency in the story and in the life of the people there. Something that has always been, is life giving, and brings beauty to the valley and food to their tables.