Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima” captures the integration of the supernatural and real worlds of Mexican Culture and translates it to show how this molds the central character, Antonio Marez y Luna (Tony), specifically in his faith. The journey Tony goes through is steered predominantly by three major elements traditionally, in Catholicism, anciently, in The Golden Carp, and supernaturally, in Ultima as a curandera.
In the beginning of the novel the audience can see the unyielding faith that Tony has for his religion and for God, “I had started praying to myself from the moment I heard the first short, and I never stopped praying until I reached home. Over and over through my mind ran the words of the Act of Contrition.” (23) Slowly as Tony gets older and witnesses horrible things such as dark magic and death, he begins to doubt and question God. He sees that God may not be all powerful as he once thought or else God doesn’t care about his people. Throughout all of this inner turmoil Tony turns to the Virgin Mary and prays to her frequently, “I asked God to answer my questions but the only sound was always the whistling of wind filling the empty space. I turned more and more to praying to the Virgin, because when I talked to her I felt as if she listened, like my mother listened.”(196) In Mexican Catholicism, the Virgin Mary is highly regarded and is prayed to as much as God and Jesus. Mexicans particularly adore her because it is said that she spoke to a man in Mexico and made roses grow out of a rocky hill. The Virgin de Guadalupe symbolizes Antonio’s desire to strengthen his connection with God and his ties to religion that he has always be told to believe. However as Tony ages his faith begins to falter as he cannot understand, why good people die and bad people live, and even starts thinking that maybe God was, “too busy in heaven to worry or care about us.” (187) His Atheist friend Florence fuels these questions of God and Tony feels...
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