Luckily, Rudolfo has not died and was born on October 30, 1937, which makes him eighty-one years old at the moment. Married to Patricia, who had sadly passed away, helped with scholarships for students with the need for financial support. He was born and raised in New Mexico, US, and attended school in this area. After graduating from the University of New Mexico, he became a public school teacher for seven years which was between 1963-1970. Not only that but he became director of counseling at the University of Albuquerque. After this, he started teaching at the University. It is quite noticeable that Rudolfo Anaya was a busy man. He has written many books and most involve Mexican American traditions.( Britannica)One of which being Bless Me, Ultima which was actually the first novel he ever wrote but continued writing new books which also became very successful. Later on, Bless Me, Ultima became a national best-seller because it describes another form of religion and Mexican traditions. This book was published in 1972. Rudolfo has received many awards due to all the well-written books he has made.
These awards being, NEA National of Arts Lifetime Honor, Kellogg Foundation fellowship, the American Book Award, two Governor’s Public Service awards from New Mexico, and last, two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) literature fellowships.(Formalities) Just because of all the awards he received, he did not take all the credit. As said by Rudolfo Anaya, ?I’ve been thinking a lot about what this recognition means, and I’ve decided it’s not just about methis award is about the people of New Mexico.’ This clearly shows how his confidence did not increase and remained humble. Instead, he actually gave some credit to the individuals from New Mexico for his writing. After reading a biography about Rudolfo Anaya, it was understood that a lot of the inspiration for Bless Me, Ultima came from his own family. While his mother, Rafaelita Mares, was Catholic and enjoyed of a stable house, his father, Martin Anaya, would rather move on from area to area as a nomadic herder. Just as in the book, Antonio’s parents would have discussions due to having different opinions on lifestyle and where to live. Also, the book includes many religious themes and spiritual healing. Because of the great writing structures he had, it was really clear for the reader to understand the main point of the novel and acknowledge different forms if religion.(Rudolfo)
The text, Bless Me Ultima, is not to lengthy and is 262 pages (without counting the Reading Group Guide, Q and A with Rudolfo Anaya). Also, it consists of veintiuno chapters, as said in the book, which when translated to english, means twenty-one. The chapter’s numbers in this book are written in Spanish rather than English due to the Mexican traditions throughout the text. Overall, this is significant because it gives an additional way to represent the latin background behind the chapters. Like most other books, Bless Me, Ultima, is written in a chronological order of events from when Ultima was introduced in the book until after all of the problems were solved. Flashbacks of other events are also presents in some areas in the text here and there. In the book, the main character/narrator, Antonio, has dreams in which important characters that have passed away show up when he is sleeping. Rudolfo Anaya also switches between different ideas such as questions, thoughts, and stuff that has happened in the past. These ideas usually come from the characters in the book, one of which being Antonio, the boy narrating the story. From the reader’s point of view, it is inferred that the plot of the book is complex because many risky events are present. Throughout the whole novel, the main characters, Antonio and Ultima, struggle to conquer many issues with society due to the fact that individuals believe Ultima is a witch when in reality she is a curandera, a person who cures with magic and herbs. This is the main reason that makes the plot complex because this characteristics causes a lot of problems in the book that later get solved. Even though the book is said to be fictional, it can pass as real because of all the vivid details present page after page and all the clear details about religion and Mexican heritage. A noticeable change was present from the beginning of the book to the end of it. Towards the beginning, Ultima is introduced and moves in with Antonio’s family but as the book continues, she causes a lot of issues due to her magic.
In this case, the book is written in first person. Antonio Marez is narrating the story about his family and himself. Also, it is referring to events that occurred throughout the youth of Antonio which is mainly about magic. Bless Me, Ultima is written about events that happened throughout Tony’s childhood. Antonio, the narrator, is the protagonist of the book. It is not clear to the reader the age of Antonio when narrating the story but he is able to look back and give vivid details to explain what he went through. Over the course of the book, Tony changes his perspective about religion and his belief. He starts questioning it and does not know what to think about it. Also, other characters influence Antonio majorly so he changes his point of view several times. While some people say one thing, some say another this so he starts to question more about life. With the author’s point of view, he achieves that the reader clearly understands what is happening and makes it seem like we are living the book. Also, since it is is said in Antonio’s point of view, it seems like we are put in his shoes and it is easier to understand his emotions and what he is going through. If it was not written in first person, then we would have seen the story through the perspective of many characters rather than just one and it would be more confusing. Also, this would have caused the reader to be puzzled and not understand the real story. First person was the best way to go because we read the book about what one person went through and not several others.
Many different characters show up throughout the novel but not all have a big role as others. This leads us to the conclusion that some flat characters are, Antonio’s friends, father Byrnes, Lupito, Cico, Tenorio and his daughters, Tenorio, Narciso, Antonio’s sisters, Jason Chavez, and Chaves. These individuals show up in the book but do not make the a drastic change to the story. On the other hand, Ultima, Antonio, and Antonio’s parents are round characters because they are involved in most sections of the story and are put in tough positions that makes the story more interesting to the reader. If it was not for these characters, than the novel would have been more boring in a way because not a lot of suspenseful things would have occurred. Ultima can be a static character because she provides trust and characters can feel comfort around her because they can rely on her. She does not change while all of the other individuals she’s around do. Gabriel, Antonio’s father, is a dynamic and complex character because he has to change some of his ways in his lifestyle in order to keep his family members and loved ones together. In this case, was to enjoy of a farming life instead of being a vaquero like his descendants. The characters in the novel are believable because the book took place in the older times and all of the characteristics go along with the setting. All were revealed over the course of the novel when Ultima was introduced. When Ultima was introduced, she started to affect other characters which was when they started to appear. As an estimation, there is around thirty-nine characters in the novel. Some being important, and others only making an appearance a couple times.
The protagonist of Bless Me, Ultima is Antonio Marez because he was the main character and was narrating the story. On the other hand, the antagonist is Tenorio because he cause a lot of problems to Antonio and his family. Some minor characters include, father Byrnes, catholic priest and teaches Antonio and friends in catechism, Miss Maestas, Antonio’s teacher and see a lot of potential in him education wise, and Antonio’s uncle which is his mom’s brother. An important character of the book is Ultima. While age is not given, it is know that she is elderly; therefore, is very respected. She is a curandera which is a healer that uses magic and herbs (spiritual power). Often times in the book is confused as a witch. Ultima is very complex and wise and knows a lot about life. She develops an important bond with Antonio which is needed for the overall book. Her name is significant because it is in the title which gives the reader a hint that she will be important throughout the novel. When describing her in three adjectives, she is old, wise, and calm. A key quote said by Ultima is, ?It is because good is always stronger than evil. Always remember that Antonio.’ This is a piece of wisdom that Ultima gives Antonio since she knows a lot about life. Also, it shows the impact that she has had on Tony and how she gives him advice. Another character is Antonio Marez who is six years old when introduced in the book. He is the protagonist and is narrating events that occurred in his youth.
For his age, he is really smart and is able to understand a lot of adult topics. Also, when going to school, his teacher, Miss Maestas, noticed huge advancement academically in a short period of time. He has a very special bond with Ultima and learns a lot from her. Lets just say that he learns a lot for his age and is able to understand certain subjects. At one point, he starts to question a lot about religion and life. In three adjectives, it can be said that he is bright, serious, and thoughtful. He goes through a lot of issues and has to solve them by either doing the right or wrong thing. Also, he switches from being a child to an adolescent and has learns that actions result in suffering through consequences. A key quote is, God was not always forgiving. He made laws to follow and if you broke them you were punished. The Virgin always forgave. This phrase, is the start of Antonio incorporating religion into the book. Later on, he will start questioning and affects the overall novel. Florence is another character in Bless Me, Ultima and is a young blond boy.
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