As children grow older, their minds are filled with many questions. A large portion of these questions are difficult, complicated, and often times unanswerable. Children are left to struggle with them throughout life. They look for answers to these questions anywhere possible, and often they turn to the guidance that adults provide. Adults can provide a foundation from which children can grow, but they can provide only a certain amount of advice to help children deal with life's basic issues; the rest is left for the child to find for themself. Such is the case in the final chapter of Bless Me, Ultima, a novel by Rudolfo Anaya. In this chapter Tony, the main character, receives important
insight and very wise advice from his elders. The story shadows Tony as he seeks understanding to his many questions, we follow his spiritual awakening, and follow his search for identity throughout his childhood. Already he has learned much. He has started school, been initiated into the Catholic church through catechism, and has learned much about many of the local native beliefs. But he has also learned of death, hatred, curses, cures, and most importantly he has learned of the supernatural forces behind it all.
As children grow, they must develop strength, both a physical strength and an inner strength. An undeveloped child may not have the ability to deal with the challenges that life may throw at them. This strength is gained through experience, knowledge, and the many things that you learn day to day in the process of growing older. In Bless Me, Ultima, Ultima reminds Tony of the importance of strength again and again, reinforcing its importance in his mind. On one of these occasions, Ultima tells Tony that "life is filled with sadness when a boy grows to be a man. But as you grow into manhood you must not despair of life, but gather strength to sustain you." From this Tony learns that it is possible to gain this strength, which is vital in the process...
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