Bless Me, Ultima Essay

883 words - 4 pages

In spite of what mothers want to believe, boys grow to become men. The morning after Tony witnesses Luptio’s death, he wakes up and goes to the kitchen. He sees his mother and Ultima, and they begin to discuss Tony becoming a man: “‘…but my Tony is only a boy, a baby yet.” She placed her hands on my shoulders and held me. ‘Ah, but boys grow to be men,’ Ultima said as she sipped the black, scalding coffee” (33). By using the words “boy” and “baby” to describe Tony, Antonio’s mother suggests that she is not ready for Tony to grow up and to become a man. Ultima, however, does not agree with Maria’s opinions. Because she says “boys grow to be men,” Ultima knows that Tony will become a man. Because Ultima brought Tony into the world and is with him throughout a part of his boyhood, Ultima may even see him grow into his manhood. Furthermore, because of her part in bringing Tony into the world was vital, she suggests that her role in bringing Tony into his manhood will prove to be just as vital. Although “scalding” is used to describe the coffee, it has a double meaning. “Scalding” means incredibly hot (relating to the coffee), but it also means caustic and stinging (in terms of language). Thus, Ultima’s words could have had a stinging effect on Antonio’s mom who does not want her son to grow up and become a man too quickly. Through Ultima’s stating that Tony will soon become a man, she suggests that she will witness his becoming a man and that she could play a role in this transition.
Even after death, a mentor can give guidance through the agency of memory. After burying Ultima’s owl, Antonio rushes into his home to see Ultima and to have one final conversation with her before she dies. He has enjoyed years of her guidance and advice, and she gives him one final piece of meaningful wisdom: “Always have the strength to live. Love life, and if despair enters your heart, look for me in the evenings when the wind is gentle and the owls sing in the hills. I shall be with you—” (276). By saying “look for me” and “I shall be with you,” Ultima implies that, even though she and Antonio will be separated physically, she can continue to stay with Antonio spiritually. Whenever Antonio is not feeling well, he should just recall all of the advice that Ultima gave him during their time together. By mentioning “owls,” Ultima implies that Antonio needs to remember Ultima’s owl when he is in “despair”...

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