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Bless Me, Ultima: Rhetorical Analysis
Transcript of Bless Me, Ultima: Rhetorical Analysis
Bless Me, Ultima
Outside Evidence: Rodolfo Anaya is a Mexican-American writer and educator who was born in Pastura, New Mexico. The author has greatly influenced the landscape of Chicano literature and continues to write books while garnering literary awards.
Textual Evidence: "For Ultima, even the plants of the llano had a spirit, and before I dug she made me speak to the plant and tell it why we pulled it from its home in the earth" (Anaya 39)
"It would be a great honor to provide a home for la Grande..." (Anaya 4).
Textual Evidence: "Get hold of yourself, hombre, tell me what has happened!" (Anaya 16)
Textual Evidence: "I wanted to reach and help him, but I was frozen by my fear." (Anaya 22).
Anaya uses the elements of the earth to describe the feelings that overcame Antonio when Ultima came to visit
"I had been afraid of the awful presence of the river, which was the soul of the river, but through her [Ultima] I learned that my spirit shared in the spirit of all things."
A lot of Anaya's life is portrayed in the novel. Things that occurred throughout is life, particularly his childhood, inspired the foundation for the novel and the main ideas of it.
Anaya uses Ultima as a figure of emotion, for Ultima is a very spiritual person, in touch with nature and life. The amount of emotion can be seen through how much meaning she has to the Luna and Márez families, specifically Antonio's core family, in which Maria and Gabriel feel a strong sense of debt to her. Furthermore she is seen as a mentor to Antonio, for she helped his mother give birth to him, portraying an even stronger link between them. This makes the reader see Ultima in a positive perspective.
As partly an autobiographical novel, the author hoped that others who had been through something similar as him could relate or find refuge in his work.
As a "coming of age" type of novel, Rudolfo Anaya intended to capture a younger-maturing audience.
Bless Me, Ultima is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the author's childhood. He used the memories of his life in the Pecos River, Highway 66, the church, the school, and the surrounding villages and ranches as the inspiration for this novel.
Why write the novel?
"I think the answer is, I write because I must. Then the whole idea of community comes into mind. Yes, I write for my New Mexican community, the Spanish-speaking world, but also for the entire world. Sometimes I'll be writing and I'll think of a person, a family member, or sometimes of a critic, and I'll say, 'This is for them'"
-Rudolfo Anaya on why he wrote "Bless Me, Ultima"
There were not any authors who could serve as a "mentor" for Anaya's life and experiences as a "Chicano" himself.
Anaya struggled to find his voice. When he struck an epiphany, he believed that it came from his subconscious to provide him a mentor and his spiritual guide to the world of his Native American experience.
"I felt something behind me and I turned and there is this old woman dressed in black and she asked me what I am doing. 'Well I'm trying to write about my childhood, you know, about growing up in that small town.' And she said, 'Well, you will never get it right until you put me in it.' I said, 'well who are you?' and she said, 'Ultima'."
Rudolfo Anaya intended to pull in the Chicano-Hispanic audience. During his youth, there were no authors of his style, and he hoped he could become that "mentor" to other people that he was looking for earlier in his life.
Rudolfo Anaya's novel, Bless Me, Ultima, uses logos through several characters. The author portrays Ultima as a wise and knowing person. She always gives Antonio good advices, using wisdom and reason to help him through his struggles.
Anaya's use of logos in his novel can be seen in the character of Antonio. Antonio, as a boy of curiosity and thinking; he uses reason to seek answers to problems facing him throughout the story.
Textual evidence: "I could not understand why Narciso, who did good in trying to help Ultima had lost his life; and why Tenorio, who was evil and had taken a life, was free and unpunished." (Anaya 186).
Anaya's own life and first-hand experience makes the reader believe the ideals and culture in the story are the actual Chicano traditions and way of life.
Antonio realizes that Ultima is happiest when she is out on the llano, and her happiness helps him to realize that he too is a part of the llano and a part of nature, making the reader feel at peace.
Anaya portrays Antonio's mother with strong feelings towards people throughout the novel. This can be seen when Maria speaks of Ultima at the beginning of the story when Gabriel goes to the llano to pick up Ultima, showing the reader the huge importance of Ultima.
Anaya portrays Antonio's father as a person of tradition, with a peaceful and thoughtful mind at important events in the story. This allows the reader to see Gabriel as good father figure, and to see him with respect and trust.
Lupito and Antonio
In chapter 2, Anaya portrays Antonio as an understanding person, who feels sadness and attempts to understand Lupito's crime and actions. This makes the reader see Antonio as a caring person who sees other's struggles and cares for them.
A thousand thoughts pushed through my mind, but
within me did not answer... The mass was ending, the
was already vanishing.
"Her hand touched my forehead and her last words were, " I bless you in the name of all that is good and strong and beautiful, Antonio. 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." (Anaya 261).
Ultima uses words to emphasize spiritual and naturalistic ideals and emotion. The words beautiful, gentle, love and life serve to calm and provide a sense of peace to Antonio and the reader.
of life can be overcome by the
that resides in
the human heart."
"El Movimiento", the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, encouraged Anaya's dream of writing books that would explore his cultural heritage.
"When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth."
Anaya uses nature to describe or foreshadow events or to reflect a character's mood
"And in the swirling smoke a flash of lightening struck and out of the thunder a dark figure stepped forth." (Anaya 71)
Antonio is telling of past events with a somber tone that is also full of veneration and respect towards the happenings in the story
Ultima's is benevolent. She encourages Tony to think for himself and develop his own morals
Both want Antonio to follow their separate family traditions (vaquero and/or priest)
"Ultima says a man's destiny must unfold itself like a flower, with only the sun
water making it blossom." (Anaya 223)
To emphasize the importance of moral independence. Antonio is forced to abandon the truths that have been fed to him in favor for the creation of his own.
Anaya uses bilingualism to allow the diverse dimensions that each language brings to mind. It reflects the cultural reality of Mexican-Americans living in the Southwest
"The sun was good. The men of the llano were men of the sun. The men of the farms along the river were men of the moon. But we were all children of the white sun."
Anaya uses elements of the earth to describe how closely the men of the llano are all interconnected to each other and to the earth
Ultima represents a type of "moral independence" that Antonio lacks and does not take advantage of his trust in her
A thousand thoughts pushed through my mind, but
did not answer... The mass was ending and my
was already vanishing.
Ultima teaches Antonio that a person's outlook on life is ever-changing and that it is okay to build your knowledge of the world forever.
Virgin of Guadalupe
Represents the "goodness" in Catholic religion
Offers wisdom not connected to Catholicism that allows Tony to further develop his identity
Anaya illustrates how Antonio has developed from an innocent six-year-old into a nine-year-old full of wisdom and understanding through his experiences