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One of the major internal and external conflicts that Antonio faces throughout the novel is the competing pulls of his two heritages. The Marez heritage of his father calls him to be a wandering cowboy, like his brothers, whereas the Luna heritage from his mother calls him to be a priest and a farmer. Throughout the novel both of these two warring elements seem to struggle to gain dominion over him. Note how Ultima tells Antonio when he helps her to heal his uncle that "The blood of the Luna's is very thick in you." Likewise, even his father seems to recognise the dominance of the Luna blood in his son after his sons leave him and his dreams of going to California. However, at the same time, he feels the pull of his brothers and the way that they follow the Marez heritage by restlessly wandering.
It is only towards the end of the story that Antonio begins to comprehend how he can actually internalise and combine both of these contradictory heritages within himself when he speaks to his father. Note what his father says:
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.
It is this prospect of making "something new" in his identity that allows Antonio to reach a resolution between the crushing expectations of his father and mother.
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