4th December 2014
Contrasting Landscapes in Bless Me, Ultima
As the pages flip, and the story unfolds, the audience begins to notice that the landscapes in Bless Me, Ultima play a vital role in many different facets of the novel. Throughout the novel, there is an obvious dichotomy between the llano, the land of the main character’s father, and El Puerto de los Lunas, the land of the main character’s mother. As Antonio, who is the focus of the novel, grows older, he is forced to make a decision between the llano and the Luna. This decision is not based upon which land to dwell upon, but rather on which path Antonio should place his life: the ...view middle of the document...
Antonio’s father, Gabriel, dreams of his son becoming a man of the llano and he himself longs to return to the vast, beautiful land.
Pulling Antonio in an alternate direction is the village of Guadalupe and El Puerto de los Lunas, the land of his mother’s people. Quiet farmers who turn to the moon for guidance call El Puerto de los Lunas their home, and Antonio’s family moved here when he was a young boy. The land resembles that of a valley and within the valley lays the quaint town of Guadalupe. When Antonio was born, and his mother’s brothers were finally allowed to see the newest addition to their bloodline, an old man stated, “this one will be a Luna… he will be a farmer and keep our customs and traditions” (Anaya 5). Although this was said, Ultima, who was also present at Antonio’s birth, has the hopes that Antonio will become a man of learning and of nature. Rather than dreaming of Antonio becoming a farmer, Maria, Antonio’s mother, hopes that her son will grow to be a priest and dwell within the boundaries of El Puerto de los Luna, keeping her families traditions alive for yet another generation. This hope survived within Antonio’s mother throughout his childhood and fought against the hopes of his father, inevitably causing the struggles that plagued Antonio for much of his upbringing.
Yet another landscape that played a vital role in Antonio’s coming of age is the river. In the early stages of the novel, Antonio sneaks out of his home and makes his way to the river where he witnesses the murder of a man named Lupito. A landscape that had once consisted of “holy water” (Anaya 22) was changed forever. While Antonio forever identifies the river with this terrible event, he views another body of water with quite the opposite attitude. The pond that Antonio frequents throughout the novel can be seen as a religious landscape that brings hope and comfort to Antonio. The dichotomy of these two landscapes in Antonio’s life, along with the dichotomy between the land of his father and the land of his mother, are both brilliantly utilized by Anaya to exemplify Antonio’s spiritual development.
By placing these landscapes into the text, Rudolfo Anaya is able to portray the coming of age story of Antonio Marez in...