Explain how religious symbolism is used in the short story "Wine on the Desert." thanks!

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Durante is approaching Tony's place, he sees the windmill in the distance and it is like "a religious emblem to him." It represents hope, because he knows the windmill powers a pump, which allows water to come to the desert vineyard. The "tanks blessed his eyes" because he knew that some of them contained water. The symbolism refers to the first miracle Jesus performed in the Bible, changing water into wine. He was at a wedding feast and the hosts ran out of wine, so Jesus took some jugs of water and turned them into wine. In this story, there is irony because the water is also sort of turned into wine but rather than being a good thing, it is a bad thing because it kills Durante. By filling his canteen with wine, Tony figuratively turned what Durante thought was water into wine. He needed the water to survive, so the wine deprived him of his life, just as if he deprived Tony of his livelihood because without the water, he could not irrigate his vines to grow the grapes for the wine.

Another thing that could be symbolic is that in the Bible, it says "vengeance is mine, says the Lord." Tony does not kill Durante or even try to fight him, but he rather lets God (in the form of nature) exact vengeance on Durante. Durante dies of thirst out in the desert, from the natural elements, because he lacks water and there is no water to be found where he is going. So, the natural elements cause his demise, and Tony has only done so inadvertently. Yes, this may be a bit of a stretch, but.........