Bless Me, Ultima - Wikipedia
In Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio has a terrible nightmare: "It is la llorona, my brothers cried in fear, the old witch who cries along the river banks and seeks the blood. Antonio Márez - The precocious protagonist of Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio is six years old at the beginning of the novel. Antonio is serious, thoughtful, and prone . ?Rudolfo Anaya's novel Bless Me, Ultima chronicles the youth of Antonio to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.
The novel opens as the protagonist, Antonio, approaches the age of seven when his family decides to house Ultima, an elderly curandera. Tony's parents both hold conflicting views about Tony's destiny and battle over his future path.
In the first chapter Anaya establishes the roots of this struggle through Tony's dream—a flashback to the day of his birth.
In his dream, Tony views the differences between his parents' familial backgrounds. The Lunas, his mother's side, are the people of the moon, religious farmers whose destiny is to homestead and work the land.
Each side of the family wants control of the newborn's future. His mother's dream is for him to become a Roman Catholic priest, his father's dream is to embark on a new adventure and move west to California with his sons to recapture the openness of the Llano he has foregone in moving to the town.
Tony's progress in learning about life is grounded in Ultima, who is highly respected by his parents. However, one night Antonio witnesses the death of a man back from the war, which makes him question his religion and identity, and sparks his journey towards manhood. Antonio begins school in the fall, where he is portrayed as an excelling student, which greatly pleases his mother.
Tony's First Communion experience leaves him disillusioned as he did not receive the spiritual knowledge he had expected. He begins to question the value of the Catholic Church, concentrated on the Virgin Mary and a Father God, and on ritualas unable to answer his moral and metaphysical dilemmas.
At the same time, realizing that the Church represents the female values of his mother, Tony cannot bring himself to accept the lawlessness, violence and unthinking sensuality which his father and older brothers symbolize. Instead through his relationship with Ultima, he discovers a oneness with nature. One day, while socializing with his friends they tell him the story of the Golden Carp. Antonio also continues to be an example for the children, who praise his religious savant as they dress him as a priest while preparing for first communion.
Antonio's admiration for Ultima strengthens as he continues to question his faith, hoping to understand once he takes communion for the first time. Ultima, in her role as protector, uses her knowledge of healing and magic to neutralize the evil witchcraft and, despite lacking priestly recognition, emerges as the only one who can cure him from death.
In another traumatic death, Antonio witnesses the murder of Narciso, known as the town drunk, by Tenorio, a malicious saloon -keeper and barber in El Puerto. As a result, Antonio becomes ill and enters a dream-like state.
Bless Me, Ultima Antonio's Struggle - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Tenorio blames Ultima for the death of one of his daughters, claiming that his daughter passed because Ultima cursed her. Tenorio plots his revenge on Ultima throughout the duration of the novel. Following the death of the owl, Ultima quickly follows and is accompanied by Antonio at her bedside as she dies. Before her death, she instructs Antonio to collect her medicines and herbs before destroying them by the river.
In addition, he reflects on the pull between Catholicism and the continuation of Ultima's spiritual legacy and concludes that he does not need to choose one over the other, but can bring both together to form a new identity and a new religion that is made up of both. Antonio says to his father: Take the llano and the river valley, the moon and the sea, God and the golden carp—and make something new Papa, can a new religion be made?
He turns to both pagan and Christian ideologies for guidance, but he doubts both traditions. With Ultima's help, Antonio makes the transition from childhood to adolescence and begins to make his own choices and to accept responsibility for their consequences. Both hold conflicting views about Tony's destiny and battle over his future path. While Gabriel represents the roaming life of a vaquero and hopes for Tony to follow this path of life, Maria represents the settled life of hard-working farmers and aspires for her son to become a priest.
Her role in the community is as mediator.
Ultima knows the ways of the Catholic Church and also the ways of the indigenous spiritual practices over which she is master. Ultima understands the philosophy and the morality of the ancient peoples of New Mexico and teaches Tony through example, experience and critical reflection, the universal principles that explain and sustain life. Although she is generally respected in the community, people sometimes misunderstand her power.
At times she is referred to as a brujaor witch, but no one—not even Antonio—knows whether or not she is truly a witch. Finally Antonio puts pieces of the puzzle together and the revelation of who she is comes to him. She holds Antonio's destiny in her hands, and at the end of the story sacrifices her own life so that Antonio might live.
Tenorio Trementina and his three daughters — Tenorio is a malicious saloon -keeper and barber in El Puerto. His three daughters perform a black mass and place a curse on Antonio's uncle Lucas Luna.
Tenorio detests Ultima because she lifts the curse on Lucas and soon after she does so, one of Tenorio's daughters dies. Hot-tempered and vengeful, Tenorio spends the rest of the novel plotting Ultima's death, which he finally achieves by killing her owl familiarher spiritual guardian. Afterwards, he tries to kill Antonio but is shot by Uncle Pedro.
Ultima's Owl — Embodies Ultima's soul, the power of her mysticism, and her life force. The song the owl sings softly outside Antonio's window at night indicates Ultima's presence and magical protection in Antonio's life. Ultima's owl scratches Tenorio's eye out as he stands in Gabriel's doorway and demands the right to take Ultima away from Gabriel's house.
By the end of the novel Tenorio has figured out the connection between Ultima and her owl. By killing Ultima's owl, Tenorio destroys Ultima's soul and life force, which leads quickly to her death. Antonio takes on the responsibility of burying the owl and realizes that he is really burying Ultima.
Lupito — A war veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder. After Lupito murders the local sheriff in one of his deranged moments, he is killed by the sheriff and his posse as young Antonio looks on from his hiding place on the banks of the river. Lupito's violent death provides the catalyst for Antonio's serious moral and religious questioning.
As a result, he gets so sick that Ultima is summoned to cure him. She concocts a potient of herbs, water, and kerosene as a purgative and uses Antonio's innocence as a mediator to effect the cure. Narciso — Although known as the town drunk, Narciso cuts a large, strong figure of a man. Narciso and Gabriel are good friends because they share a deep and passionate love for the llano. Narciso has a deep abiding loyalty and love for Ultima because of her extraordinary efforts to save his young wife who had succumbed to an epidemic that struck the town.
The moon and the sea is a never-ending cycling; the moon calms the tide of the ocean every day. Anaya shows through this connection of names that Antonio must learn to use his Luna blood to tame his wild Marez blood. Only through this balance between the mix blood will Antonio be able understand life and who he really is.
Antonio struggle for equilibrium between the different influences in his life is lighten by the guidance of Ultima. Ultima is a healer from the Luna, who practices traditional Aztec heritage.
Gender Roles in Bless Me, Ultima - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Antonio learns to appreciate the earth and its wonder from her. In the novel the river represents the sin and evils of the people. She could go to Him and ask Him to forgive you. This again appeals to the family culture and traditions of the Chicanos. Anaya utilizes the roles of God and the Virgin to define aspects of the male and female personas within the Chicano culture.
Ultima is considered one of the most predominant characters of this novel. One of the decisions is his choice to either follow the Roman Catholicism way and to become a priest or become a man of the llano as his father did.
Ultima offers a different motherly figure to Antonio compared to his actual mother. Adhering to the female role in the Chicano culture, Maria rarely leaves their home, however, Ultima is never confined to any structure. She is continually travelling to those who seek her spiritual assistance.
Another example of Ultima defying the inferior alcove of women, she assumes the role of he family protector, also.