Religious Confusion in Bless Me, Ultima
Only a few books dare to discuss the confusion surrounded by a religious awakening. In Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya, challenges standard religion and brings in differnet ideas through the perspective of a young and confused boy. At the end of his struggle to understand, the boy reaches the peace of mind he was seeking.
Antonio, the young boy, wants answers to the questions that have been nagging at him since he was introduced to religious ideology. He does not understand why Ultima, a close elderly friend and a healer, can save his dying uncle from the curses of evil while the priest from El Puerto with his holy water and the power of God can not lift the curse from him. He wonders whether God really exists or if the “Cico's” story of the golden carp is true. Bless Me, Ultima, is a compelling story that deals with Antonio's family, beliefs, and dreams.
Throughout the book Antonio is introduced to many new ideas. The first is the experiences he has with Ultima. Ultima is a healer who learned her techniques from an old wise man on the prairie. She is sometimes called a witch. This confuses Antonio because in his heart he knows Ultima represents good and not the evil she is sometimes blamed for. Antonio learns some of the ways of Ultima and begins to understand his surroundings. He knows the name of almost every plant and what medicinal uses each has.
The next exposure for Antonio is the myth of the golden carp. Antonio learns about the golden carp from Cico, a friend of his. According to Cico, the golden carp was once a god who loved the people of Antonio's town, Gaudalupe. The people were not allowed to fish for the brown carp that lived in the river that flowed around the town. These fish were sacred to the gods. However(because of a drought and no food) the people had to eat the carp to survive. This angered the...