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1. Title/Author of work: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya Publication Date : January 12, 1972
2. Genre (characteristics):
The genre for this book is fiction. Some characteristics are ; magical realism, coming of age, and philosophical literature.
3. Significance of title:
The significance of the title is that it refers to the last request of Antonio to Ultima.
4. Author’s Background: additional works, stylistic /thematic tendencies, influences, affiliations, etc.:
Rudolfo Anaya is an American writer who was born on October 30, 1937. He is known for the books such as, Bless Me Ultima , Heart of Aztlàn , and Tortuga. His thematic tendencies of his books are on Chicano themes about human condition. These books often reflect on experiences of Anaya’s childhood. Anaya was an advocate for multiculturalism and bilingualism, and often contributed to numerous Hispanic writings. In 2002, Anaya was awarded a National Medal of Arts.
5. Major theme:
The major theme for Bless Me, Ultima is loss of innocence. In the beginning of the book Antonio is unaware of the dangers and tragedies that happen in the world. Throughout the novel, he starts to become more aware of the good and evil. In the end of the novel, Antonio has lost his innocence but has replaced it with understatement and maturity.
6. Minor themes and motifs:
The minor theme for Bless Me, Ultima is ethical independence. It’s ethical independence because throughout the novel Antonio tries to use religion to answer events that he doesn’t completely understand but it still doesn’t help him. This later on leads him to make his own decisions with the help of Ultima.
7. Significant character(s): (flat, round, static, dynamic, complex, protagonist, antagonist, etc.):
Antonio – Protagonist and Dynamic
Tenorio – Antagonist
Ultima – Confidante
Florence – Flat and Static
8. Minor (but significant) character(s) and their function(s):
Gabriel and María Márez : Their both conflicting views on Antonio’s future makes it difficult for him to chose and accept their beliefs
Cico : Showed Antonio another belief system when seeing the golden carp, who is a pagan God
Lupito : His death provides the momentum in Antonio’s religious and moral questioning
Andrew, Eugene, and León Marez : Their leaving makes their parents be more expecting of Antonio’s future. After they leave for good they crush the dreams of their parents but set them straight on reality.
9. Main setting(s) and significance:
El Puerto De Las Lunas and the Llano are the main settings. The significance of El Puerto De Las Lunas is that, this place is where Tenorio and Narciso fight, and where Antonio goes to his Catchesism. This is also where Ultima and Antonio come to cure his uncles and when Tenorio is seeking revenge. The significance of the Llano is that where Antonio lives nearby. It also reminds his father of the freedom he used to have and longs for.
10. Point of View:
The story is written in Antonio’s first person point of view.
11. Brief Synopsis/Conflicts:
His parents hope for his future
The sheriff’s death
Lupito’s death
Communities cultural traditions
Tony’s brothers leaving
Tenorio’s daughters curse to Uncle Lucas
Tenorio vs. Ultima
Narciso vs. Tenorio
Andrew visits Rosie’s House
Playing a Priest with friends
Florence’s death
Ultima’s death
Loss of Innocence
12. Significant Symbolism (relevance?):
Ultima’s Owl is one of the significant symbolism in the book. Ultima’s owl is the soul of Ultima which means that they are magically linked. The owl also reflects Ultima’s violent and vengeful side to those who mean harm. It also is the protector of Antonio and spiritual mentor. Another significant symbolism is blood. The blood the was stained by the river from the death of Lupito symbolizes the sins that the town has commited.
13. Comment on the following literary devices and provide a textual example:
Imagery: Uses vivid words to describe the llano. “Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the the gurgling water of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth.”
Tone: The tone is thoughtful. “The soul was lost, unsafe, unsure, suffering – why couldn’t there be a god who could never punish his people, a god who could be forgiving all of the time?” Antonio questions the god he believes in.
Diction Uses Concrete diction. “They will burn sulfur instead of holy incense. They will sing and dance around her coffin, pulling at their hair and flesh.” Uses specific words that describe qualities.
Syntax: “The tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart.” It’s an example of syntax because the wording he chose contradicts one another and the sentence is a loose sentence which means that it has 1 or more clauses.
Figurative Language: There was similes in the book. “He was like a rag doll in her hands.” “One single shot sounded then a barrage followed it like the roar of a cannon like the rumble of thunder in a summer thunderstorm.”
Irony: (verbal, situational, dramatic, paradox, understatement, hyperbole):
There is dramatic irony in the book. “It is the owl that is the spirit of the old witch and tonight I will send that miserable bird to hell,” It is dramatic irony because now we know how Ultima dies in the end but the people in the story don’t know.
14. Significant Quotation. Briefly explain significance.
“It will only end when blood is spilled.” This is important because it says that once someone wants revenge there will be no peaceful end to the conflict. The person won’t care what it takes to get revenge and will only stop until they avenge.
15. Create/answer 3 analytical questions to spark discussion:
1. Does Antonio have powers like Ultima?
2. What will Antonio be in the future?
3. What are the events in the book that change Antonio’s life the most?