A child is much like a far-reaching scientific experiment. Both are expensive and in constant need of attention. Nevertheless, an experiment can be terminated at anytime. The experiment of child cannot be aborted, and sometimes the Experiment fails when he or she chooses the wrong path. However, for Rudolfo Anaya's "Experiment Antonio" of Bless Me, Ultima, the results are promising. Antonio, as a child, already possesses traits that lead to a good and pure life. He is naturally a mature and wise man-child yearning for knowledge.
Antonio shows a startling maturity. Psychologically, a typical six-year old will suffer serious mental agonies if he or she witnesses the death of four other people. Tony, however, "[runs] the words of the Act of Contrition" (23) through his mind, praying to God promising that "[he] will sin no more." (170) Furthermore, the typical six year old child will not possess the mentality to question the flaws of a religion nor question why God "forgives all" (173), even murderers. This is not the case for Tony, who is bothered by the fact that God will "forgive Narciso
" only "
if [Tony] also asks [God] to forgive Tenorio." (173) In addition, Tony's maturity leads him to order someone to "go get the lifeguard" (239) during the drowning of Florence. At the same time, Tony notices a "red spot on [Florence's] forehead where he must have hit the edge of the culvert." (240) Death, to a six year old, is a mystery while religion is accepted just like the letters of the alphabet. However, Tony's questions of religion and reactions to death reflect a mindset of someone far beyond his age group.
For someone of his age, Antonio has a strong yearning for knowledge. He is "driven by the desire to make [his] the magic of the letters and numbers" (64) and works hard, "eager to learn the secret of the magic." (76)...
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