Tony struggles with the cultural differences between his generation and that of his parents, but finds middle ground in his dreams. The contest between native religion and Catholicism becomes especially visible by examining Tony's relationship to his mother and father. He feels both sides of his blood pulling him in different directions. His mother wants him to be a priest, but his father believes that his blood is wild and cares much less about his involvement in the church. At the end of Chapter Once, Tony has a dream that provides a visualization of the forces he feels inside himself. As his father and mother argue over which side of the family he takes after, Tony watches as, "[the lake] cracked with the laughter of madness as it inflicted death upon the people...The cosmic struggle of the two forces would destroy everything!" (Anaya 126). This conflict characterizes the struggle between the Luna priests and his father's pagan heritage. Tony faces pressure from both sides of his family because both wish for their ways of life to carry on past themselves. The result of this pressure, however, leaves Tony without an identity of his own. Instead, he has nothing but chaos and moral systems that seem to clash with each other.
Tony's dreams, though often filled with frightening imagery, often function to resolve the external conflicts that result from a changing culture. While he appears to pull away from the Catholic faith Tony maintains ties to the church and continues to work towards his first communion. At the end of this dream, Ultima reveals that, "The waters are one...You have been seeing only parts, she finished, and not looking beyond into the great cycle that binds us all" (Anaya 126). The messages conveyed by Catholicism and the Golden Carp are, in fact, basically the same. They both preach the importance of avoiding sin, but more importantly both religions have dire consequences for those who continue to sin. This vision of religion allows Tony to break free of the battle between the two sides of his family as he realizes that he is a combination of the two. He remains free to live a life without sin by choosing either path. His new identity does not need to deny any part of himself, but rather accept and live both parts to their fullest.