Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me Ultima

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Antonio, from Bless Me, Ultima, lives stuck in a world of in-betweens, a world of borders. He must navigate this world and find his place within it, all while trying to please his parents. Tony’s surroundings and cultural background lead to this in between world and force him to pick a side before he has even began to grow up. In Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Antonio is constantly searching for answers about his future and the world around him; he finds these answers through his family, environment, religion, and family friend, Ultima.
The binary opposition of Antonio’s mother and father are one of the major central conflicts. Antonio resides between the Lunas and the Márez tradition, two families that see no common ground. His passage into maturity is one that forces him to decide between his mother and his father, the land and the sea. During one of Antonio’s dreams he sees his births. This birth shows him the Lunas and the Márez arguing over his future and the presents they bring represent that. The Lunas bring fruit from their farm, they expect Antonio to respect his mother’s side and honor the land and the heavens. The Márez expect him to become a cowboy, a profession represented by his father’s dream of moving to California (Novoa, 4).
When Antonio is talking to his brother, Andrew, he says “sometimes I get the feeling that I will come home, and it will all be changed. It won’t be the same any more” (Anaya 149). Change frightens Antonio, yet he also wants the way people see life to change. He wishes his God would be more compassionate. He wants his parents to agree on how to live. He wants so much out of life, but the idea that change will not produce the results that he’s looking for alarms him. Part of a bildungsroman n...

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...s Antonio, and she teaches him to look beyond what he first sees. She shows that everything connects, that even his parents’ different live styles rely on each other. Her recognition of this connection “profoundly changes a boy who has lived in fear of his environment” (Novoa 4). This lesson is repeated throughout the novel.

Works Cited

Anaya, Rudolfo A. Bless Me, Ultima. New York: Warner, 1994. Print.
Hunt, Alex. “In Search of Anaya’s Carp: Mapping Ecological Consciousness and Chicano Myth.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 12, no. 2 (summer 2005): 179-206. Web. 13 April 2014.
Novoa, Juan. “Learning to Read (and/in) Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima.” In Teaching American Ethnic Literatures: Nineteen Essays, edited by John R. Maitino and David R. Peck, pp. 179-91. Alburquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. Web. 13 April 2014.
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