Destruction of Innocence

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In court, it is said that one is “innocent until proven guilty.” However, one’s innocence can be taken away without a trial. In the novel Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya, a six year old boy named Antonio Márez is about to begin school when Ultima, an old healer, comes to stay with him and his family. Antonio’s father is a former Vaquero and his mother is very Catholic. When Antonio’s uncle, Lucas, is cursed by the Trementina sisters, he becomes very sick and near to death. Ultima, Lucas’s last hope of survival is able to cure him. However, the sisters’ father, Tenorio, believes that it is Ultima’s magic that is now slowly killing his daughters. Tenorio sets out to kill Ultima which results in multiple tragic deaths. Throughout the story, Antonio learns a great deal about himself, his beliefs, and the people around him. Bless Me, Ultima uses Antonio’s obstacles to illustrate that as one grows older, his or her innocence is destroyed; however, it is replaced with knowledge, understanding, and maturity.
Witnessing the death of Lupito demonstrates that Antonio’s impeccability is tarnished, but he is filled with new knowledge. On a dark night when Antonio secretly follows his father to the bridge, he describes the scene; “He looked up at me and his face was bathed in water and flowing, hot blood … The men were already running to the end of the bridge to come down and claim the man whose dead hands dug into the soft, wet sand in front of me” (Anaya 22). Witnessing a death at such a young age is very hard to take in, and Antonio is traumatized by what he has seen. Antonio realizes that he is no longer exempt from the punishments he could receive for sinning. He tries to understand the world through religion; however he is unsuccess...

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...h a new understanding of the world.
Bless Me, Ultima uses the struggles Antonio must face and the deaths he encounters to show that innocence is destroyed as one grows older, but is replaced with experience that brings maturity and wisdom. The loss of Antonio’s innocence has been shown through the deaths of Lupito, Narciso, Florence, and most importantly, Ultima. As Antonio has matured, he has discovered new understanding and knowledge that will guide him through the rest of his life. Antonio has discovered that he can make his own decisions, and he is no longer a child. Therefore, one must be aware that losing one’s innocence is an important part of life. When one’s innocence is lost, it triggers newfound maturity. It is essential to understand that one doesn’t need a trial to lose their innocence, but with this loss comes responsibility, wisdom, and understanding.
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