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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima (original 1972; edition 1999)

by Rudolfo Anaya

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2,155963,019 (3.69)62
Title:Bless Me, Ultima
Authors:Rudolfo Anaya
Info:Warner Books (1999), Edition: 0025-Anniversary, Paperback, 290 pages
Collections:Read Fiction

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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972)


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English (95)  Dutch (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Read my senior year; I loved it! I really only remember the richness of the language, how it sounded on my silent tongue, and loving some abuela (was it Ultima? I don't remember). I remember relating to the protagonist's thoughts about church...and something about carp being bad luck to catch (forbidden?) A conversation about fishing and carp today reminded me of this book, and I think I'd like to read it again. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
RGG: A mystical story of 1940's chicano New Mexico; young boy as protagonist; heavy emphasis on Catholicism and questioning of belief.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 5, 2015 |
Great book very cultural and you can really relate to it. Especially growing up in New Mexico. Many interesting characters. Sad ( )
  Chavila | Mar 12, 2015 |
Rudolfo Anaya is now recognized as one of the founders of Chicano Literature. Bless Me, Ultima took me right back to many of the things I miss about New Mexico.

Tony is six when La Grande Ultima, a curandera too old to live on her own anymore, comes to live with the Marez-Luna family. She recognizes something special in him and takes him with her when she goes to help others in the village, and on herb gathering trips. Tony soon realizes there is more than meets the eye in most situations and learns to observe what happens around him.

The big themes are mysticism vs. religion, machismo vs. courage, vendettas which take on a life of their own, and family. It seems too much for a little boy to take in, and in many ways, it is. But I never faltered in the belief that Tony would survive, and thrive, through the chaos which made for difficult situations over the course of a year.

Three brothers come home from WWII, and leave again. Tony begins training with Ultima shortly before he begins catechism training after school in the village Catholic church which causes him to question God as he mulls over the other gods he experiences. I truly love this book. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 6, 2015 |
Antonio is growing up during the 1940's in New Mexico. He is surrounded by family that is humble and hardworking. His most notable family member is that of the family matriarch, Ultima. She is a very respected woman and also curandera. She and Antonio share bonding moments in the book discussing old ways and complimentary styles of healing with surrounding herbs and weeds of the land. Many literary components and religious citations throughout the book. Culture, heritage, religion, family, power struggles, life and death, medicine and coming of age components to discuss with class.
Interesting that it would be good for a read aloud in a middle class but would be good to try in 5th.
NO illustrations but would love to see a picture. book. ( )
  Adrian.Gaytan | Feb 11, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rudolfo Anayaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ramirez, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Con Honor Para Mis Padres
First words
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven.
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.
Last words
(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!


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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