By: Patrick D.
Bless Me, Ultima is about a boy named Antonio Marez who is stuck in the middle of three worlds and is trying to find where he belongs while he loses his innocence.
This book brings up so many good points that aren’t always looked at or even considered in most books. Throughout the book, Anaya the author questions the existence of God in many different ways. For example, Antonio starts to wonder if there really is a God after seeing two people murdered, in front of him, and seeing his best friend drown. It makes sense that someone of Antonio’s age would start to question his beliefs after witnessing these life-changing events and Anaya did a good job of showing that.
Antonio’s town had such strong beliefs in God that anyone who is openly against the church is considered an outcast. Anaya did an excellent job of capturing this and showing how un-accepting people can actually be and what extremes they may go to against someone who opposes the norm. The best example of this was when Ultima lifted a curse with her magic that not even the priest was able to lift. The entire town was sure she was a witch. Anaya showed that people don’t like to accept unfamiliar things even though Ultima was doing good. Bless me, Ulitma is a very realistic story in that people do act exactly like in the book.
Some of Anaya’s characters were not afraid to openly challenge God and, in a way, neither was Anaya. Antonio and a few of his friends were the ones who questioned God the most since they had experienced much misfortune. Florence stopped believing in God all together since his parents died when he was young and his sisters became prostitutes. The children were the ones to question God’s existence because they hadn’t experienced anything to convince them otherwise. Another idea that Anaya brought up in his book was paganism. Essentially, it was just another way Anaya used his writing to challenge God and Christianity. In Antonio’s struggles to find where he belongs one of his friends introduces him to a new god, the Golden Carp. The Golden Carp’s views were much different then Antonio’s interpretation of God and that’s what intrigued him so much about this new god. Anaya was able to make this new god more real then God by having Antonio actually meet the Golden Carp. Again, this idea of more then one god was so radical it represents how people even now don’t like to accept new or different things.
Antonio and his friends weren’t the only people that challenged the existence of God. Ultima and Narciso both challenged God indirectly by practicing magic. In some ways they challenged god even more then Antonio by going against the church.
Bless Me, Ultima is without a doubt an A-list book for many reasons. The main reason is it has to do with all the unique and original ideas that it expresses. He didn’t just state that God wasn’t real or the only one. He used Antonio’s young innocent manner and had him explore possibilities that aren’t always expected.
Bless me, Ultima is also a very influential book because of the ideas Anaya brings up in it. Anaya’s ideas were able to influence readers and get them to consider things like if there really is a God and, if there is, more then one. The ideas were influential because he presented them in a very convincing and thought full manner. One example was when Ultima succeeded when the church failed.
Another reason Bless me, Ultima is an A-list book has to do with all of the good messages it has. Throughout the entire book the need to support and love your family for what they are is shown. Antonio’s dad finally realizes that Antonio is a Luna and a Marez even if he wants Antonio to be only Marez. Anaya shows the need to support your family in a very realistic family setting for the time period of the book.
Anaya also put New Mexico on the literature map of the world with Bless Me, Ultima. This is a big contributor to it being an A-list book, before Anaya not very many phenomenal books came from New Mexico.
Anaya was really trying to get people to think about some of their views and widen their range of acceptance with Bless Me, Ultima. Many religious people don’t question their religion, but Anaya really was able to get people thinking just like Antonio from the book.