Bless Me, Ultima Analysis

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Bless me Ultima is a walk of life centered on the character of Antonio who grows up in transition throughout the novel. His journey is façade stricken with constant thoughts of convicting cultures and beliefs. His shanty town, parents and friends are all social variables that deeply transcend onto his personality’s outcome and what he wants to thrive for in life. Anaya has depicted Antonio as a bewildered intelligent soul teetering onto the ledge of colliding beliefs. This enigma is what gives the novel its richness in literary texture, where the onus’s character is so beautifully envisaged that one gets carried away in the Anglo Mexican era.

The plot of the story begins when Antonio Marez is seven years old and her soon to become beacon of hope Ultima comes to live with him and his family in Guadalupe, New Mexico. Ultima has been given refuge by the family for her impeccable healing powers and knowledge of delicate herbs and plant lore. When Antonio was born Ultima served as his midwife and buried his afterbirth. Though his family holds Ultima in the highest regard, but both the parents have some deeply rooted preconceived notions. Antonio’s mother is a devout catholic while his father is a cowboy in the Ilano. His father strongly feels for his son to have the same masculine outcome, indulged in wanderlust and romance with the great plains of New Mexico.

Antonio from an early age is blessed with an acutely inquisitive mind that thirsts for clarity on worldly elements; this is further fueled with a great deal of moral curiosity. The majority of his traits are like children of his age such as apprehension, unease and concern at leaving the comforting touch of his mother to start school. In other ways, Antonio has a stark outlook and solemn appreciation for the seriousness of life. In comparison to the rowdy and primitive pack of friends around him, he is much sober and composed. He is also sensitive to his ambiguous standing in the world, where he is at crossroads to make a choice between conflicting cultural notions. His father is a vaquero of exasperating promenade who wants Antonio to ride the llano, value the open plains and appreciate the savannah that lies within. On the contrary his mother is a daughter of the blue collar class farmers who wants Antonio to have a spiritual way to life and become a priest impacting life of others. Antonio is deeply troubled with this home brewed tracheotomy and about his own uncertain destiny. This is where Ultima plays a pivotal role. A folk healer paving way to guide him in developing a more vivid comprehension of the world around him.

After witnessing the death of Lupito, one of the town’s residents, Antonio’s thirst for decaptivating his mind and moral searching becomes even more intense. He is in a tumultuous state with distaste for the beliefs that society around him holds. He suddenly plunges into a crisis of faith. Antonio’s belief about the Catholic school of thought becomes obscure and he slowly starts to wither away from his religious footing. The novel revolves around Antonio’s powerful plea to know the truth is the one of the major foundations stones of his character. This is where Antonio wages war on his mind challenging the realities of life and stipulating a prognosis which frees his mind in order to contemplate things according to what he sees right.

This is the teetering point where Ultima’s character uses a beautiful recipe of traditions and cultural loftiness to help Antonio decipher the questions in his mind where he starts questioning the burgeon of religious concepts such as sin, death, afterlife and empathy. She emulates him to cherish the nature around him by understand its intricacies. She holds him back to refrain from judging others when their beliefs differ from his own.

Antonio since childhood has been subject to trivial dreams that push him to reflect upon his beliefs. Anaya throughout the model uses the recurring dream motif to emulate the character. In his early ages, Antonio’s dreams revolve around him making the choice between become a priest or a rancher. Whereas as he steps out of his adolescence, his dreams become more vivid being preoccupied with morality, family and duty to deliver.

A symbol of Ultima’s tranquility and presence in Antonio’s life is her owl that represents her force of mysticism throughout. The owl gently sings to him at night, ensuing twilight wisdom and comfort in sleep. It symbolizes Ultima’s ability to be the golden carp in his life without which Antonio is a mere portico. The bond between the owl and Antonio is so strong, that when it dies and he buries the owl he equates it with the pretense as if he is burying Ultima herself.

Ultima’s presence is on eminence in Antonio’s resolve to decipher many of the conflicts within and around him. He in time decides with the intrinsic motivation planted by Ultima that he is a force to reckon with and can accomplish the unimaginable. The novel like a trail where the reader just picks up the crumbs of the past never actually knows what happens to Antonio in finality. Does he become a priest or a vaquero or something completely different? And in the most general sense, this idea is probably more important than the question of Antonio’s career.

Works Cited

“Sparknotes: Bless Me, Ultima”. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.

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