Bless Me, Ultima tells the story of a young boy named Antonio and his loss of innocence, self-discovery, and the struggle to find enduring values. When Antonio Marez is six years old, his parents send for an old woman, Ultima, who stays with their family in a small village in post-war New Mexico where modern influence is starting to spread out from the cities. Ultima is a curandera who heals using herbs and magic and is often out casted because people believe she is a witch, but she inspires Antonio and shares her wisdom with him throughout the novel. Within his family, he is torn between his father’s riding ranch ancestors, his mother’s farm folk, and his personal calling as an altar boy. His world is forever changed by the appearance of Ultima, a healer who moves in with the family. Anaya, being a native of New Mexico, fills the seemingly empty plains and surrounding mountains with life and color. His mother’s ancestors had been farmers and his father was a vaquero. Anaya said that his grandmother, La Grande was special force in his life and that she was believed to be a curandera paralleling to Ultima.
Bless Me, Ultima is the story of Antonio, a young boy coming-of-age and assaulted on all sides by powerful formative influences. Within his family, he is torn between his father’s riding ranch ancestors, his mother’s farm folk, and his personal calling as an altar boy. In the beginning of the story Antonio is only six years old but he is a very sensitive and introspective boy, who often seems much older than his years. Antonio is often in doubt about his ambivalent destiny, but when Ultima comes into his life she helps guide him in understanding the world. When witnessing the death of Lupito, one of the town’s residents, his searching for morals becomes vigorous as he spirals down into a confrontation where he starts to question the Catholic faith. Throughout the novel Antonio continues with his desire to know the truth and starts to question everything, but...
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