Chicano Studies 037 Sec# 0113
Book Report #2
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The Denver Post states that Rudolfo Anaya is one of the nation's foremost chicano literary artists. In his brilliant first novel, Bless Me, Ultima we introduced to a young Mexican-American boy, the protagonist of the story, named Antonio Marez. The story takes place in the farm lands of New Mexico around the time of World War II as we follow the life of Antonio as he grows into a young man, although uncertain of his future. His experiences with his guide Ultima and his confrontations with the antagonist of the story, Tenorio, teach Antonio valuable life lessons that will help him live a meaningful life. His coming of age experiences lead to the main theme of the story, the affects of culture on one's identity. Although there are many themes to this novel, such as coming of age, and loss of innocence, I believe this theme sums up to novel as Antonio learns to appreciate who he is and not what he is expected to be.
The novel begins as Antonio and his family prepare for the arrival of la Grande, Ultima, to come and stay with them in their home. Ultima is a curandera, or a traditional healer, who has helped Antonio's family for many years. Antonio, only six years old at the time, is extremely excited for Ultima's arrival, unlike his sisters, as he believes she will help him choose the right path for his life. One of the big conflicts for Antonio, that we learn about in the novel, is the different lifestyles of his mother and father. His mother comes the Luna family, who are devout catholic farmers, while his father is a Marez, who are primarily vaqueros,