Bless Me Ultima: The Theme Of Evil

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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You can't judge a book by its cover. This aphorism has held true for countless people over the centuries. A person can never be truly judged based on his/her outward appearance or behavior. This is the case with the character of Ultima in Rudolfo Anaya's novel, Bless Me Ultima. Ultima appeared to be a kind and good-natured curandera, but as looks can be deceiving, she proved she was not. Though Ultima had some redeeming qualities, her actions and their consequences proved that she was essentially evil. Thus, through the course of the novel, Ultima has proven to be evil at heart.

To begin with, Ultima was shown as evil through the various tests for evil of chicano folklore. These tests involved being able to pass by a cross, which was said to ward off evil. If a woman could pass by it, she was not a witch, if she could not, she was.

These tests of the Mexican people were believed to reveal the goodness of a person. Though these tests may seem unconventional, they nevertheless are part of the chicano culture and are highly revered as true tests among the chicano people. In essence, she failed the cross test because it mysteriously fell away, " A faint glitter caught my eye. I bent down and picked up the two needles that had been stuck to the doorframe. Whether someone had broken the cross they made, or whether they had fallen, I would never know"� (135). According to the custom of that setting, Ultima must have been a witch because she was only able to pass through the test when the crosses were broken.

While Ultima was proven evil trhough chicano tradition, her evil actions against the Trementinas show her evil. Ultima was called upon to cure a...