The novel Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya is one of the most outstanding works revealing the problems and lifestyle of Mexicans in the United States in the 20th century. At the center of the story, such a family is represented, and the main characters are vivid and deep. The boy Antonio, as a key protagonist, experiences new emotions from a meeting with the mysterious and unusual woman Ultima, who shows him how different and unusual the world can be.
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Nevertheless, the interests of the boy are condemned by his family members, and the situation is complicated by the fact that the positions of his parents with respect to upbringing are distinctive. In view of his father’s and mother’s different backgrounds, Antonio faces a difficult choice whether to become a worthy successor to his cowboy father or to follow his mother’s advice and improve his religious knowledge. The parents’ distinctive approaches to the worldview are the main contradiction that prompts the boy to languid thoughts on the choice of his life path.
Antonio’s mother, being an ardent Catholic, instills in the boy the idea that he should study God’s word and become a priest. In her opinion, sinful thoughts about the supernatural are unacceptable for a believer. The woman embodies the classic attachment to her native land and farm work. She states: “what a sin it is for a boy to grow into a man” and argues that the child’s soul is immaculate and pure (Anaya 37). In her desire to protect the boy from adversity and help him feel a craving for church service, she embarrasses him and makes the boy worry about the fact that he does not feel a strong desire for being a priest. As a result, Antonio cannot feel self-sufficient due to these worries.
The position of the boy’s father is radically different from that of the mother’s since the man has individual views on life and upbringing. Being a hereditary cowboy and a lover of free choices, he is not tied to the land and appreciates a nomadic way of life. When turning to his son, he argues that “every generation, every man is a part of his past” (Anaya 71). Thus, the man emphasizes that the boy has to follow in his footsteps and should not take seriously what his mother says. This position is not close to Antonio, who is sensitive and dreamy. Therefore, the opinion of his father also makes him worry and think about his fate.
Comparison of Opinions
Both parents of the boy have different cultural backgrounds, and although each of them loves Antonio in one’s own way, neither can give him what he really wants. The boy loves his father and mother, but their positions are too categorical and uncompromising and leave no choice for the child. As a result, Antonio is worried about misunderstanding and finds support in Ultima, the only person who is ready to accept him for who he is. This problem of disagreement is the key cause of tensions for the boy.
Different approaches to raising the son and promoting distinctive life values are the main factors provoking the boy’s worries in the novel by Anaya. The positions of parents are radically opposite, and the child faced a choice, although he is too small to make independent decisions. Misunderstanding between generations is a common phenomenon, and Anaya reflects how ambiguous educational principles can be when both parents adhere to different approaches to interacting with their child.
Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima. Grand Central Publishing, 1999.
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