Bless Me Ultima is the story of one boy’s journey to finding his purpose in life. Though he is young, Antonio is torn between the ways of his father, who was a vaquero and the life of his mother’s farming family. He does not know if he is a son of the plains or a son of the fertile valley.
At the center of the story, helping him on his journey is Ultima, a medicine woman and healer, who comes to live with Antonio and his family at the beginning of the story. Antonio and Ultima connect instantly and become very close. Ultima delivered Antonio, the last of the Marez children, and only she knows his future.
A series of tragic and magical events slowly reveal the truth of the world around him, and lead to a deeper understanding of himself and those close to him. Along with the guidance he receives from Ultima, his strong Catholic faith guides him and helps him find meaning in his life.
Written by Rudolpho Anaya, Bless Me Ultima has become a classic among Chicano Literature. Words become art as the author brilliantly describes Antonio and his surroundings. Reminiscent of Native American storytelling, every part of Anaya’s story is filled with a deeper spiritual meaning. Rather than using the language of a child, he writes with the words of a poet, coloring the story and drawing the readers into Antonio’s world.
A focal point of the story is the immense spirituality in Antonio’s life. His faith is constantly challenged, but he still holds on to his beliefs. Mixed in with Christianity is the mysticism of his family and his people. This brings an exciting and interesting element to the story. It shows how two completely opposite ways of thinking can connect and work together, one making up for what the other lacks.