What does the tree dream at the beginning of "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" signify?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to dream symbolism the almond tree which is what Santiago dreams of

“in a tinfoil airplane and flying through the almond trees without bumping into anything” 

is symbolic of an impending wedding, joy, and happiness. Since his death occurs after the wedding of Angela Vicario, this would be considered foreshadowing.

Arguably, the symbolism would be that his soul will go wandering away after his murder. However, there is more to Santiago's trees. Both the almond and timber trees are representatives of wealth, happiness, and joy. They are very strong and beautiful trees, which may also be representative of Santiago's own nature as a human being. After all, it is more than likely (although it is never absolutely resolved) that all that happened to him was entirely unfair.

Another ironic fact about dreaming of these trees is that, while they are meant to represent happiness, Santiago's ending is anything but happy. Yet one of Santiago's salient traits is his optimistic outlook on everything, his natural ability to feel joy. This is what makes his murder all the more horrifying to those who loved him best. 

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago Nasar had two dreams during the opening of the story as told by the narrator. He tells his mother about the dreams but she is unable to foresee what they truly meant. In the first dream Santiago was moving through a grove of trees where it was drizzling lightly. In that moment he felt happy, however the happiness was short lived because when he woke up he found himself spattered with bird poop. The essence of his dreams and particularly the first one comes out clearly as one goes through the story. In the story, Santiago is butchered by the twin brothers Pablo and Pedro because of the dishonor to their sister Angela allegedly caused by Santiago. The two brothers make public proclamations of their intentions to kill Santiago and even though most people know of their plan they do not warn Santiago nor do they try and stop the brothers. In this regard, the trees in the dream symbolized the people Santiago met but did not warn him, the brief happiness points to his unwary nature, while the bird poop symbolized his eventual demise.

i29bob | Student

Nasars mother told of a dream that he had where he was "alone in a tinfoil airplane flying through the almond trees without bumping into anything" (5) perhaps signifying him dressed in his attire for special occasions (to see the Bishop) and going through the morning without anyone (the almond trees, signifying the skin tone of the population) telling him that someone was out to murder him.

lit24 | Student

Santiago Nasar's  dreams are symbolic anticipations of his death-they are precognitive. On the morning that he was murdered Santiago woke up very early and told his mother that he had had a dream about how happy he was walking through a grove of timber  trees in light rain, but when he woke up he felt as though he was covered with bird droppings. He discussed his dreams with his mother Placida Linero because, she had "a well earned reputation as an accurate interpreter of other people's dreams, provided they were told her before eating." However, she did not consider the the dreams to foretell anything ominous, and after Nasar was murdered, "she never forgave herself."

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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