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Bless Me, Ultima Evaluation Essay, Research Paper

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya, is a touching story of a young boy who is

learning many things rather quickly throughout his life. The trials and tribulations that he

faces are not similar to those of a normal childhood. Overall, the book is a major learning

lesson and experience for not only the characters involved, but for the reader as well. The

style and charisma with which it was written envelope the reader in a conglomeration of

feelings and emotions. Bless Me, Ultima has many characteristics that make it such a

well-written and touching story. Among these traits is the truth behind the story, the

affirmativeness that defines the characters, the impact it has on the reader, the books

vitality, and the beauty that is shown through the style and imagery with which it is


The universality that Bless Me, Ultima contains pertains to such issues as death

and restlessness or boredom. An example of the pain and suffering that Antonio has gone

through due to witnessing so many deaths in his life is shown on W-244. He is having a

nightmare after the death of his friend, Florence, when Ultima comforts him and talks to

him about the issue at hand. The strengthening of a soul, the growing up of a boy is part

of his destiny, but you have seen too much death. It is time for you to rest, to see growing

life. The difficulty that Antonio is facing is a problem that anyone could go through, no

matter how old or how young they may be. It reflects the general emotions and actions

that any human being going through something of this sort would react. A form of

restlessness or boredom that many people go through in their lives is similar to that of

which Antonio s brothers face when they return home from the war. It s hell to have

seen half the world then come back to this, Leon nodded across the river to the small

town of Guadalupe. (W-66) Due to the fact the brothers have seen so many new things

and traveled to so many places, their home town suddenly doesn t have the same feeling it

used to have before they left. This leaves them longing for something that they can t quite

reach in Guadalupe, New Mexico.

Human worth and meaning are shown through such characters as Florence,

Samuel, and Lupito. Florence is a young boy with a troubled life. Due to the fact that his

mother passed away when he was three, his father drank himself, to death, and his sisters

work at Rosie s, it leaves one to feel a sense of pity and sorrow for his current living

conditions. Because of this, he questions Antonio s beliefs when they talk of God and

catechism. So I ask myself, he continued, how can God let this happen to a kid. I

never asked to be born. But he gives me birth, a soul, and puts me here to punish me.

Why? (W-196). Lupito is another sad case because of his current state of mind. The

men of the town had murdered Lupito. But he had murdered the sheriff. They said the

war made him crazy. (W-24) On a wild tangent Lupito shot the sheriff and ran. Chavez

was enraged at the death of his brother and wanted to seek revenge. Chavez and other

men of the town then followed Lupito to the bridge where he was shot and killed in the

crossfire. Although, Lupito shot the sheriff, a sense of compassion is felt for him since his

actions are all due to the trauma he faced when fighting at war.

The joint force and full result that the story has on the reader is made through

different events that take place and actions that the characters take. The on-going

controversy in the Marez household is the question of whether Antonio is to become a

farmer and follow the Marez way or become a priest and make his mother proud. But

you will not be like them…You will be a Luna, Antonio. You will be a man of the people,

and perhaps a priest. She smiled. (W-9) The problem that Antonio faces is one that

many can relate to when forced to make a choice between two things of such great

importance. Another situation that not only leaves a lasting impression on Antonio, but on

the reader as well, is when Ultima blesses him before she dies. Her hand touched my

forehead and her last words were, I bless you in the name of all that is good and strong

and beautiful, Antonio. (W-261) Throughout Antonio and Ultima s relationship she

taught him the way of the world, how to treat it, etc. The blessing is in a sense a last

lesson for him to learn. Everything in this world must die, but that does not mean that

they can not be present in one s mind. The prayer is more or less closure for their

fast-ending relationship

The work also gains a life of its own that offers great insight through Antonio s

growth as a person. By going to catechism lessons and learning more about the spiritual

world, Antonio begins to ponder many different thoughts and ideas. By not knowing what

he quite believes in yet, Antonio has many options. Not only is he faced with the problem

of his future, but with what God is the right God to believe in or is there really just one. I

am a Catholic, I stuttered, I can believe only in the God of the church… But I want to

believe,[in the Golden Carp] (W107). This intense experience and troubling matter is

one in which Antonio shares with the reader from the beginning of the story to the end of

the story. A similar case in which Antonio must learn from is when he witnesses the

deaths throughout the book. While Antonio has a talk with his father, he explains

different things about life to Antonio. Understanding comes with life…as a man grows he

sees life and death, he is happy and sad, he works, plays, meets people – sometimes it

takes a lifetime to acquire understanding (W-248). Although, he may have witnessed too

much of death at one time, Antonio learns from it and grows as a person. The examples

within the story represent the fact that one is to take the experiences throughout his/her

life and gain strength from them.

Bless Me, Ultima offers a sense of beauty by the great usage and placement of

style and imagery. Throughout the book Anaya uses metaphors and similes to effectively

relay different messages. This is shown when Cico is showing Antonio the Golden Carp.

Cico s eyes remained glued on the dark waters. His body was motionless, like a spring

awaiting release…it was just one of those places where one can communicate only in

whispers, like church. (W-113) To amplify the fact that Cico was excitedly awaiting the

Golden Carp s arrival, a simile is used. Not only is the fact then recognized by the reader

but it enhances the overall grace and ease with which the story flows. A wonderful form

of imagery is presented to the reader when Cico and Antonio are walking through

Narciso s garden. Everywhere I looked there were fruit-laden trees and rows and rows

of vegetables…The ground was soft to walk on. The fragrance of sun-dazzling flowers

was deep, and soft, and beautiful. (W-108) By using such descriptive language, one is

able to better comprehend the abundance of extravagant fruits and vegetables that are

contained within Narciso s garden. Without such imagery being used, one would not

know how awestruck Antonio was upon entering the garden or what made the garden

better than any others.

Collectively, Bless Me, Ultima has many strengths and very few weaknesses. It s

wonderful characterization, enticing imagery, and stunning universality are only the

beginning of the positive aspects of this book. Those of which are all important factors to

the contribution of making the story as impressionable as it is. Although, the only truly

negative element of this book is the reoccurrence of death. Some readers may see it as

being a bit too dissenting for the manner in which the rest of the story was written. Also,

it can seem quite unrealistic for a child of this nature to have seen so much during such a

short time span. Although, the overall worth of the novel is enhanced due to the

increasing amount of depth as the story unfolds. It is a book in which one can learn

something from after reading it time and again. In its entirety, Bless Me, Ultima is a

creative, exciting, knowledgeable, and heart warming story all in one.

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