Bless Me, Ultima: Part 2

Alright here we go. I think this whole post is just going to be a rant how everything is so weird right now.

First of all, I’m sad (like actually) because we won’t be able to come in and do our discussions in person. It was impending but I guess I didn’t realize that our last class was probably the last class that I will get to see most of you guys. Trying to get myself to do things while sitting at home trying to stay away from the crowds has been rough so fingers crossed for the upcoming weeks.

Okay now I’m going to talk about the book. I might sound like I’m overreacting but I wish I wish I wish, oh how I wish that someone told me ahead of time that this book was going to  be “graphic”, if that is even the word to use to describe it. There were times that I would try to read the book late at night to just find myself setting it down after a few pages because some chapters just creeped me out, particularly the burial of one of the Trementinas. I find the book really interesting but the supernatural aspect of it is not sitting quite well with me.

Anotnio has had a very good coming of age in terms of experience I would say. I don’t know how I would have processed everything if I were him. Everything that he was taught or believed contradicted each other, and he has a clouded image of who God is and His character.

A scene I would relate to this is the school play. During the nativity play, the parts to be played by the girls had to be played by the boys. Maybe this is just my interpretation and I don’t know if it actually means something but it’s interesting how the boys had to fulfill the girls’ roles, but in reality it seemed like Antonio had more faith in the Virgin Mary than in God. Also, I think the whole play is a depiction of how people try to perfect religion and want to attain a certain level of morale with good deeds and “trying to be like God” when in reality, not a single person can attain that perfection.

With that being said, I don’t want to forget about the night with Ultima, Narciso, Gabriel and Tenorio. After reading this chapter and the chapter of this play, I saw the two ends of Antonio’s spectrum of beliefs almost being represented to be faulty.


5 thoughts on “Bless Me, Ultima: Part 2

  1. pamela salome chavez calapaqui

    Hi Rachel!
    I also miss our discussion in person. However, it was not so bad when we tried to do it in Google Hangouts.

    With respect to the book, I also felt that Antonio’s beliefs and religiosity usually contradict each other. And, I agree with you in that I think Antonio has an impressive resilience capacity. After what happened with Lupito, with Florence and with Ultima, he is very strong and actually is like all these events actually helped to construct his character.
    It was very sad when Ultima died. For me, she is the biggest friend Antonio has, and the one that helped him to not being lost around so many contradictory beliefs and ways of live.

    Pamela Chavez

  2. Jon

    Thanks for this, Rachel. Yes, I miss our meetings already. 🙁

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure I quite understand what you mean by your final comment about “two ends of Antonio’s spectrum of beliefs almost being represented to be faulty.” I’d love you to unpack that.

    And I’m also intrigued by your saying that Antonio “has had a very good coming of age in terms of experience.” In lots of ways, surely we see a very traumatic year! But I wonder if that’s part of what you mean… that a quiet, sheltered coming of age would not be a “good” one?

  3. maria farinha

    Hello Rachel,
    I agree, the supernatural aspect is definitely a puzzle. It is hard because there isn’t anything like, or at least to my conception of religion. I think this happens because of the mix of belief systems. We see Antonio believing in both the Virgin de Guadalupe and Ultima (both sin pecado). Belief in God and the Golden carp. Normally superstition and the catholic faith would be mutually exclusive, but I think in this case they mix making it a strange combination we don’t usually hear of or feel.

  4. stephanie kletas

    it is true that everything that Antonio is taught or what he believes in contradicts. As a young boy he witnesses various different ways of looking at and living life. He continuously is finding himself mixing distinct lifestyles or beliefs. This can be seen through his Catholic religion and also following Ultima’s life and teachings as a curandera. Yet I believe that all these distinct ways of identities help Antonio in growing as a man and aide in guiding him through his journey in becoming who he is.

  5. Curtis Holt-Robinson

    Hey Rachel,

    Bless Me, Ultima is pretty gruesome and has a lot of hard to digest scenes. I would’ve liked some heads up too, but all in all the book was a great coming of age novel showing how a boy learns about the world around him. The nativity scene stands out for me too. The sexism in this book is very pronounced (the girls can’t handle walking to school alone) and this scene reinforces that as well. One boy becomes very agitated by playing a female role and violently lashes out repeatedly. This scene doesn’t just tell of boys being boys, it shows sexist ways of thinking being expressed through future generations’ actions. Very sad, but through this message, we can learn and try to fix the mistakes we’ve made in the past.

    Take care,
    -Curtis HR


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