Motifs in Bless Me, Ultima

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The novel Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya describes the maturation of a boy named Antonio, who witnesses more than his fair share of deaths at a young age. He struggles with the injustices of these deaths and thus begins to question his once-solid religious beliefs. During the conflict Antonio experiences many vivid dreams, which are considered motifs in the work. The dream motif is a catalyst for the theme of the importance of independent thinking to maturation, because through his subconscious Antonio finds the understanding he craves by facing his fears and questioning his future. In many of Tony’s dreams he encounters his fears. One of these fears is that his three older brothers will go to hell, because they gamble and spend their time at Rosie’s, which is considered the whore house. In his dreams, Tony tries to protect their innocence: “Do not enter [Rosie’s], I cried. It is written on the waters of the river that you shall lose your souls to hell if you enter” (70). He is terrified that they will go to hell and be punished for eternity. Tony’s begging is to no avail; his brothers enter anyway. His troubled thoughts then turn to his own innocence: “Oh, where is the innocence I must never lose” (71). He struggles with the concept of maturing and losing the innocence he feels he needs to become a priest. As the novel progresses, however, Tony loses his innocence because of the many deaths he sees. He realizes that this is a given part of maturation, and that he can still hold integrity without innocence. Another struggle of Tony’s is the fact that he is caught in the middle of his parents’ dreams. His mother wants him to become a farmer-priest, and his father wants him to become a vaquero. In his sleep he struggles with which dream he will follow, and often see his parents arguing about it: “Oh please tell me which is the water that runs through my veins, I moaned... my mother crooned softly, it is the water the Church chooses to make holy and place in its...
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