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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
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Bless Me, Ultima (original 1972; edition 1999)

by Rudolfo Anaya

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2,3021022,758 (3.71)63
Member:marfec2012
Title:Bless Me, Ultima
Authors:Rudolfo Anaya
Info:Warner Books (1999), Edition: 0025-Anniversary, Paperback, 290 pages
Collections:Read Fiction
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972)

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» See also 63 mentions

English (101)  Dutch (1)  English (102)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
I read "Bless Me Ultima" for the first time when I was in 6th grade, and to this day I remember being so engaged by the beautiful imagery that it creates for the reader. I would use this book to study imagery, and to bring in a book that ELLs would be comfortable with. ( )
  danimeineke | Nov 4, 2016 |
This novel is a short read and once you get started its hard to put it down making it a quick read if you will. I loved the authenticity in the cultural contexts and the development of the characters through out the novel.
  Lynda_Garza | Jul 22, 2016 |
"Bless me Ultima" is a wonderful story based on the "Chicano" or Northern New Mexico native people culture, religion, and customs that tells us about the relationship between a six year old boy called Antonio and an Old wise Lady called Ultima who is a "curandera" or healer, and how Anotonio faces a lot of difficulties and has to deal with curses, healings, dead people and mean friends and becomes a man of learning throughout his childhood with Ultima's help.
Since the author is from Northern New Mexico and the book takes place in two real small villages called Las Pasturas and Puerto de Lunas wich are located North of New Mexico i think Rodulfo Anaya put a little bit of his life experience into the story to remark the origins of a culture that tends to dissapear as new Chicano generations come to this world which makes the book more exciting and more valuable. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Bless Me, Ultima takes place in a small town in New Mexico during World War II. Young Antonio is the son of a Marez, a wanderer of the plains who has the restlessness of the sea in his blood, and a Luna, a woman of the pastures and farms who wants stability for her family. As Antonio grows, he must decide how to reconcile the two opposing forces that flow in his blood. In addition, his mother wants him to become a Catholic priest, but when God cannot provide satisfactory answers to some of the tough questions he is asking, Antonio starts to look for answers elsewhere to justify the balance of good and evil in the world. Throughout the several years of his childhood that are covered in the novel, Antonio remains close to Ultima, the old curandera who lives with his family. She has mystical healing powers that she only uses to eradicate evil and promote good, but nonetheless, she is rumored to be a witch by some of the townspeople. Antonio learns much from her about the nature of the world, mystical spirituality, and the dichotomy of good and evil.

I really liked this novel. Because Antonio was so young, there was an innocence about him that was very appealing. At the same time, he was willing to lose his innocence in order to learn more about the world and grow into a man. Instead of letting his beliefs be completely shaped by other people, he questioned things and altered his beliefs when they conflicted with what he knew to be morally right or wrong. Magical realism was an important part of the book, but it wasn't overwhelming because the book was more about asking questions than finding absolute answers. I think this constant questioning of the world around us and the parts of it that we don't understand lends itself well to elements of magical realism. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is the story of Antonio Juan Marez y Luna and his relationship with a shaman/witch called Ultima. It is also the story of the young boy's call to religion. Ultima's role in the story is to open Antonio's eyes to the world around him. While she is a physical presence in his life, she also comes to him in dreams. When we first meet "Tony" he has just starting school and learning to read, but already his young life has been filled with hard knocks life-knowledge. His brothers are away fighting in World War II. Closer to home, he has witnessed the retaliation murder of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and he has seen Ultima's magic first hand. The real coming-of-age comes when the priesthood starts calling to Tony in the third grade. It was at this time that a dying man asks Tony to hear his confession. Tony's brothers come home, shell-shocked and weary. Heavy stuff for a kid!
There is a lot of imagery, myth and magic throughout Bless Me, Ultima. Ultima's spirit animal is the owl and Tony can hear it in times of danger. It even comes to him in dreams to warn him of the future. When citizens of the community accuse Ultima of being evil (because she has healed people in inexplicable ways) it is the owl that diffuses the situation.
When I first started reading Bless Me, Ultima I thought this would be a book for kids or young adults, but the inclusion of violence and prostitution has since made me think otherwise. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 15, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rudolfo Anayaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ramirez, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Con Honor Para Mis Padres
First words
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven.
Quotations
And that is what Ultima tried to teach me, that the tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Bless Me, Ultima is about a young boy named Antonio who lives in Guadalupe with his family and an old curandera, Ultima. Antonio was born into a Catholic family. As Antonio grows every day, he learns the ways of good and evil, confussion with religion, the differnce between the Marez side of the family and the Lunas side, and the ways of the river and the earth. Antonio strugles with many friends dieing because of an evil man named Tenorio. Tenorio owns three daughters who are witches. The man seeks revenge for the death of two of his daughters torwards Ultima and Antonio. He calls Ultima the brueja, or witch. This leads to Antonio's confussion with God. "Why hasn't God prevented my friends from dieing? Why did Tenorio det away with killing them? Why are you letting evil get away with out being punished? I have so many questions to ask You, but none are getting answers. Is God still alive, did he even exist?" Antonio wonders.
Cico, one of Antonios friends took him to see the golden carp pass in the river. Cico does not believe in God, but the golden carp as his god. He thinks our God is a jealous god because he does not want us to believe in any other God. Antonio wondered if the golden carp was a god of beauty.
His fathers side, Marez, is all about adventure, the wind, and the llano. The mothers side, Lunas is all about religion, the earth and staying put in one place. Antonio's mom wants him to becone a farmer or a priest, a man of learning. She brings this on Antonio alot. There always seems to be competition between the mom and dad because they are totally two different people. Antonio has a hard time deciding who he wants to be, a Marez or Luna. He finally realizes that he can be both though and learns his destiny that way. As he gets to now Ultima better he learns more of how his future will be.
Antonio goes on a journey with Ultima to help cure his uncle from the curse that one of Tenorio's daughter layed upon him. Antonio had a connection with his uncle and felt everything he felt. He learned the power that Ultima has from the curing of her herbs she uses for medicine. At the end of the story he figures out the connection with Ultima and her owl. The owl is her soul/spirit.
I would recommend this book it makes you think alot and is in depth with many things. The book has many events through each chapter that makes one want to keep reading to find out what happens next!

FROM BACK COVER:

Rudolfo A. Anaya is the winner of the $1,000 Second Annual PREMIO QUINTO SOL national Chicano literary award. Mr. Anaya was born in New Mexico. He attended public schools in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and was graduated from the University of New Mexico . .

writing his novel, Mr. Anaya has said: "I have been writing for the past ten years. I have written volumes of poems, stories, novels, burned some, saved a few. Out of a suitcase full I have, it seemed that ULTIMA distilled into something worthwhile. Writing is not easy . It is a lonely, and oftentimes unappreciated endeavor. But I had to keep creating, I had to keep trying to organize all the beautiful, chaotic things into some pattern. Writing is never quite learned. I have to rewrite and rewrite each manuscript before I'm satisfied. By the way, my writing is completely self-taught. I have never taken a writing course. It's easy . You just have to sit down and write, write, write, and write . . . hasta que te lleva la madre, y las almorranas."

The illustrations for BLESS ME, ULTIMA are by Dennis Martinez, also a native New Mexican, now residing in Los Angeles, California. He teaches art in the Los Angeles Public Schools.

Cover design : Octavia I. Romano-V.
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Six-year-old Antonio embarks upon a spiritual journey under the watchful guidance of Ultima, a healing woman, that leads him to question his faith and beliefs in family, religion, and other aspects of his Chicano culture.

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