Bless Me, Ultima, written by Rudolfo Anaya and published in 1972, has become one of the most widely read as well as critically acclaimed novels in the Chicano literature. It is first in the trilogy of novels by Anaya, with Heart of Aztlan (1976) and Tortuga (1979) following it. This novel can be viewed from many angles as well as layers, as it intertwines issues or themes of psychological maturation, social changes, identity crisis and importantly cultural conflict, all into coherent and interesting story of a young boy and his guide. Antonio Márez y Luna or Antonio is the young protagonist who with the guidance of his curandera (Traditional Native American healer) and mentor, Ultima faces various life situations in a positive manner. The story starts off when Antonio is about to turn seven, and to satiate his curiosity and to guide him, Antonio’s parents request Ultima to join the family. With Ultima’s guidance, Antonio internally as well as externally debates about his’ beliefs regarding culture, religion, personal identity and language, and eventually finds many answers. The themes of cultural, religious and language conflicts is prominently featured in the novel as it reflects the Chicano culture in rural New Mexico during 1940s, along with its confrontation with Catholicism and English language. Thus, the focus will be on how Antonio gets involved in various cultural, religious and language conflicts, starting with the cultural conflict involving his parents, religious conflict between his Catholic and indigenous cultures as well as conflict between English language and Spanish, and how with the aid of Ultima, Antonio finds a common ‘ground’ or balanced perspecti...
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...Different cultural convections of his parents leads to cultural conflicts, which gets managed by Ultima’s wise counsel of taking best aspects of all cultures and forming his own perspective. This advice of Ultima was also applicable during the religious conflict. When Antonio questions existence of Catholic God due to the initiation into pagan gods, it was Ultima who guided him. As far as language conflict is concerned, although Antonio struggled initially, he was able to optimally manage it.
Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima. New York: Warner Books, 1999.
Hostetler, Ann. “Anaya Rudolfo.” In Emmanuel Sampath Nelson (ed.). The Greenwood
Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature: A - C. Westport, CT: Greenwood
Publishing Group, 2005.
Kevane, Bridget A. Latino Literature in America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group,
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