Bless Me Ultima Paper

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Good vs. Evil

According to Wikipedia, “In religion, ethics, and philosophy, the dichotomy “Good vs. Evil” refers to the location on a linear spectrum of objects, desires, or behaviors, the good direction being morally positive, and the evil direction morally negative” (Wikipedia, Good and Evil). The archetype “Good vs. Evil” had a significant influence on many Chicano literary works and today is one of the most common themes found within Chicano Literature. In the following paper I am going to explain how the role of “Good vs. Evil" was personified in the Chicano works of Bless Me Ultima, The House on Mango Street, and in He Was On of Those Special Ones, She Said. The theme of “Good vs. Evil” played an important role in the novel Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya. The most notable representation of “Good vs. Evil” in the novel is characterized by struggle between Ultima and Tenorio. Right from the start, Ultima is displayed as being morally sound and wholesome. For example, Maria says, “I am grateful, perhaps we can repay a little of the kindness la Grande has given to so many” (Anaya 4). This image of Ultima representing “Goodness” and morality continues throughout the novel. She acts as the defender of her community by saving people suffering from curses of black magic and by ridding evil from the community. One prime example of this occurred in the chapter “Diez”. In this chapter, Ultima saves Antonio’s uncle Lucas from near death after he is afflicted with an evil curse. Tenorio, on the other hand, is displayed as being sheer evil and morally depraved and wicked. Tenorio, along with his witchcraft practicing daughters, represent the “Evil” side of the archetype and take their place, as Ultima’s arch-nemesis’s throughout the novel. Together they wreak havoc on the community by casting curses on innocent townsfolk and by indulging in satanic rituals, murder, and violence. The battle between these opposing characters continues for the majority of the novels plot. Even though both Ultima and Tenorio die at the end of the novel, their themes of “Goodness” and “Evilness” are maintained. Another representation of “Good vs. Evil” in Bless, Me Ultima is symbolized by the owl and by the coyotes. The owl, which is a symbol for “Good”, acts as the protector of Ultima and plays an important role throughout the book. The symbolic importance of the owl is first displayed at the beginning of the novel. Antonio says, “I dreamed of the owl that night, and my dream was good. In my dream I saw Ultima’s owl lift la Virgen on her wide wings and fly her to heaven. Then the owl returned and gathered up all the babes of Limbo and flew them up to the clouds of heaven. The Virgin smiled at the goodness of the owl” (Anaya 14). To Tony the owl symbolizes “Goodness” and protection. Another example of the “Goodness” of the owl was displayed in the chapter “Doce” when Tenorio, along with his drunken mob, came to seek revenge on Ultima for supposedly being a bruja and causing the death of his daughter. The owl first warns Ultima and Antonio’s family of the approaching mob and then protects Ultima by attacking Tenario. Antonio says, “There was a rustling and whirling of wings above us, and all the men ducked and held their hands up to protect themselves from the attack. But the owl sought only one man, and found him. It hurled itself on Tenorio, and the sharp talons gouged out one eye from the face of the evil man (Anaya 140). One final example of the owls “Goodness” occurred at the end of the novel when Antonio is almost killed by Tenorio. Right before Tenorio fires his gun to kill Antonio the owl attacks him causing him to miss. The owl (Ultima) saves Antonio’s life. The coyotes, on the other hand, represent the “Evil” side of the “Good vs. Evil” archetype in the novel. The coyotes appear in the chapter “Diez” while Ultima is attempting to rid Antonio’s uncle from the curse placed onto him by Tenorio’s evil daughters. Antonio states, “The...
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