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Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya Essay

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Innocence is like a new pair of shoes; everyone has one, but as one age it starts to lose its significance and at some point in one’s life it must be thrown away. Antonio, a young boy grown up on the land of the llano, starts out as an innocent child, unaware of the dangers and tragedies of life. As the novel, Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya unravels, he becomes more and more conscious of the good and evil in the world. Throughout the novel, Antonio encounters many obstacles that chip away at his innocence which forces him to question God’s authority and the injustice in the world, such as the death of Lupito, the introduction of the Golden Carp, and the death of Florence.
While still a young boy who is just beginning to understand the world, Antonio’s encounter of Lupito’s death begins a transformation in which Antonio’s understanding of the world changes drastically. In the novel, World War II has already begun and in the valley of the llano many parents’ children are dragged off to war. Lupito is a war veteran who has a severe case of “war sickness” and due to the extremity of it; it causes him to murder the sheriff of Guadalupe. That resulted in a standoff by the bridge which Antonio secretly watches, staying hidden by the tall grassy reeds. In the end, Lupito shoots the air to draw the men’s fire and dies a tragic death. Antonio witnesses all this first hand and due to that his mind becomes preoccupied with sin, punishment and loss of innocence. As he deals with the ideas of good and evil behind Lupito’s death, he turns to religion to help him solve the matters at hand. As the book says, “Over and over through my mind ran the words of the Act of Contrition” (Anaya 24) Antonio begins to recite the Act of Contrition repea...


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...not answering him. Feeling God’s betrayal he turns to other sources such as the Golden Carp and Ulitma. In the end, Antonio discovers that God is merciless, and the world is an unjust place, innocent people and evil people are given the same punishment. The last of Antonio’s innocence disappears as he understands the injustice and tragedies in the world.
The novel can be related to many events in our lives. Sometimes it’s not always the bad people that get punished. Florence and Narciso are examples of that. As Antonio learns this, his innocence level starts from childlike but rises to maturity. Three events that helped augment the loss of innocence and to the rise independent thinking for Antonio are, the death of Lupito, introduction of the Golden Carp, and Florence’s death. As the book ends, Antonio realizes loss of innocence is a vital part in growing up.




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