Rights Of Passage Essay

1143 words - 5 pages

Rights of Passage
Antonio, from Bless Me, Ultima, lives stuck in a world of in-betweens, a world of borders. He is forced to navigate this world and find his place within it, all while trying to please his parents. Tony’s surroundings and cultural background lead to this in between world and force him to pick a side before he has even began to grow up. In Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Antonio is constantly searching for answers about his future and the world around him; he finds these answers through his family, environment, religion, and family friend, Ultima.
The binary opposition of Antonio’s mother and father are one of the major central conflicts. Antonio is forced to battle the ...view middle of the document...

His family inhabits an in-between space from which it is expected that he will choose on of two directions. He is constantly being torn between his school and his home, between tradition and learning. Even within his hometown there is a cultural conflict between the original townsfolk and the people who migrated there. This even translates to his home life because his father followed his mother, he is the outsider in their life and has to live with the choices he made to please his wife. This opposition is unavoidable for Antonio even in the location of his home. His home is located on a hill outside of town; it is not quite in the fertile valley, but also skirts the llano. His house represents his parent’s battle between their two origins, a battle that Antonio’s every choice is based on (Novoa 3).
Antonio can see only two structures above the village: the church tower and the schoolhouse (Novoa 5). These structures represent the two forces that will soon become his main conflicts. Antonio will soon begin school, and later he will have his First Communion; two extremely important and defining moments in his life. The first day that Antonio attends school, he is immediately shunned by the kids in his class and finds solace with George and Willy: “We banded together and in our union found strength” (Anaya 62). Everywhere that Antonio goes, he has a specific role to play, somebody to portray. He is never given the opportunity to really choose for himself.
Antonio’s mother believes that his destiny is to become a priest, and pushes him to become a devout, unquestioning Catholic. Tony tries to follow his mother’s ideals and attends church, and communion, yet always seems to be unsatisfied. He does not truly feel satisfied with religion until he meets the Golden Carp and hears the story of the benevolent God that just wants to protect his people. Antonio grows up learning about a God to be fearful of, one that punishes both his followers and the non-believers, but the Golden Carp is a god that loved his people so much that he “chose to be turned into a carp and swim in the river where he could take care of his people” (Anaya 113). When Cico tells Antonio tells the...

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