Analysis of “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

Updated January 8, 2022

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Analysis of “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya essay

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Rudolfo Anaya, the author of Bless Me, Ultima, was born on October 30, 1937 in Pastura, Mexico, but moved shortly after he was born. For about the first 14 years of his life he lived in a small town called Santa Rosa. In 1952 him and his family moved to Albuquerque where he was introduced to many cultural changes, including racism, which he had not previously experienced. He had six other siblings. He was not taught English until he started going to school. In his home there were no books so when he went to school it was interesting to him. He was finally able to read stories and often read books like Nancy Drew and other western stories. He worked very hard and his mother encouraged him to excel in his studies.

When Anaya was 16 he was with friends swimming in a ditch. He decided to dive into it. This resulted in him breaking two vertebrate in his neck and being temporarily paralyzed. After this, he had a new outlook on life. He realized how valuable life is and it gave him more motivation than ever before.

He initially went to business school but quickly realized his heart was not in that and switched to a liberal arts program. He went to the University of New Mexico. Anaya worked hard to get his masters degree in literature and met his wife during the process. She was there learning to be a guidance counselor which she accomplished. It took him a while before he had found his own style. He says that for a long time he was just copying other authors styles because he wasn’t sure he was good enough to try his own. He wanted to ask for help from his family to help him find how he should write.

Ultima was a mentor both in the story and for him in real life. She was this random old woman that helped inspire him. He was learning to write when he wrote Bless Me Ultima, and he realized he should use his own culture to help inspire him while writing this novel. When he finally finished it he tried to get it published but was rejected many times because it was half spanish and english. Eventually TQS Publications agreed.

Biographical background important to understanding the novel; important family, community, national and world events that may inform the reading; other artistic or literary influences; critical response and literary standing during lifetime and posthumously. This will require additional research! You need to make sure you are using a credible source or sources and that you cite your sources both parenthetically AND on the Works Cited at the end.

Form, Structure, and Plot

The novel is about a young boy named Antonio Marez y Luna who is trying to find his way through life with the help of an older woman who he sees as a mentor, named Ultima. Throughout the story his beliefs are questioned. In the beginning of the novel a healer named Ultima comes to live with the family to try to save his uncle from a curse three supposed witches casted on him. She does this and asks Antonio to help her. Eventually he sees Lupito murdered by a mob. This event is what first causes him to think more deeply about people’s sins and hell. He ends up spending a lot of time with Ultima and she teaches him many things.

Discuss techniques such as flashbacks or dream sequences, stream of consciousness, chronological order of events, foreshadowing, parallel events, multiple/complex/or simple plot.

Point of View: (Narrative Perspective)

Is the novel written in first person (“I”), second person (“you,” very rare), or third person (“he”/”she”)? Is it a reminiscence or recent perspective written in present or the past tense? If in the first person, is he/she the protagonist or an observer? If in third, is sh/she omniscient (knowing everything), limited (knowing one character most)or objective (no subjective commentary by the narrator, but limited omniscient)? Are there any shifts in point of view during the novel (shifts might come from the changed view(s) of the narrator or from different narrators.) What effect does the author achieve with point of view and what seems to be his her purpose?


The novel “Bless Me Ultima takes place after World War II. They live in Guadalupe, New Mexico.

The setting is symbolic for multiple reasons. One being that the author, Rudolfo Anaya, is from Mexico himself. Anaya says that the setting is very similar to his home land and the characters are similar to his close friends growing up. Another reason is how Mexico was during the forties when the story takes place. There were many cultural changes happening, including religion. Religion is shown to be a very large asset in this novel.

During the novel they go to church and Antonio begins to question the aspects of religion because of how important religion was during this time and everyone went to church. Basically the whole time antonio is surrounded by religion due to the fact his whole family practices it. Also, the characters often visit a river near their land. That is where Antonio eventually finds the Magical Golden Carp. When Antonio finally goes to school it is a religious school and he learns a lot of lessons about life and education.

Analysis of “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya essay

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Analysis of “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya. (2022, Jan 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-bless-me-ultima-by-rudolfo-anaya/


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