Animal Dreams Literary Elements

Animal Dreams Literary Elements



Setting and Context

The action takes place in Arizona in the 1980s.

Narrator and Point of View

Animal Dreams is narrate by two different narrative voices namely Codi and Homer. The narrators have a limited perspective and present the events from a subjective point of view.

Tone and Mood

Tragic, ironic, humorous

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Codi and the antagonist is presented as being the Black Mountain.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between the people from Grace and Black Mountain which disposes toxic waste into the river passing through Grace.


The story reaches its climax when news about Hallie’s disappearance reaches Codi and Homer.


When Codi visits Loyd’s hometown, they take part in the celebrations that are typical for the Native tripe. During those celebrations, a person dressed as a God symbolizing fertility dances around the house where Loyd and Codi is. This foreshadows Codi’s ‘’fertility’’, her involvement in saving the land and also her involvement in nurturing the young minds of her students.


In one of her letters, Hallie tells Codi about the presence of the Contras in the area where she lives but claims that they are not dangerous. This proves to be an understatement because the Contras begin to kidnap young women and kill them, Hallie being one of the girls taken and killed.


In the novel there are certain allusions made towards historical events taking place at the same time when the characters live. One such historical event is the war in Nicaragua that took place in the 1980s that was the result of the clash between the communist government and a group of rebels supported by the USA. Codi mentions that Hallie moved to Nicaragua to support the cause of the elected government and condemn the actions of the rebel group and of the USA.


One element that can be fund from the beginning of the novel to the end is the presence of peacocks that come to be associated with Grace. The peacocks are first associated with the ancestors that founded the Grace community and then it becomes a symbol of hope associated with the efforts the women made to save Grace from the negative effects the mining company had on the river passing through the town.


Codi attitude towards men can be considered as being a paradox. On one hand, Codi wants to find love and have a healthy relationship with a man that will love her but on the other hand she tries to keep her distance from men because she believes that they will ultimately leave her and that she will only suffer as a result.


A parallel can be drawn between Codi’s sister and Loyd’s twin brother even though the characters don’t appear in the novel. Both Hallie and Leander had tragic endings and their deaths influenced greatly their family members. Leander died during a bar fight near Christmas and the time also coincides with the time when Hallie was kidnapped by the Contras and is eventually killed. The realization that they have so much more in common brings Codi and Loyd closer and it makes them feel that they have a special bond.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

An example of metonymy that appears in the novel is Black Mountain. The action revolves around the negative effects Black Mountain has on Grace and also on the efforts the community makes in order to save their hometown. The Black Mountain here is used in a metonymical sense and it is used to refer to every man-made construction that is harmful to the environment.


The flowers were beaten down, their bent-over heads bejeweled with diamond droplets like earrings on sad, rich widows.

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