Morality in Bless Me, Ultima
One of the main themes of Bless Me, Ultima is morality, or what is right and wrong. As Antonio grows
up he begins to realize that what the majority of people believe is right is not always right for him. He
also learns how hard it can be to stand up for what is right.
Please use one of the passages below to write a paragraph analyzing what Antonio learns about morality
in the novel. Please reread the entire passage in your book to fully understand the quotations. Please
remember to have a topic sentence and a concluding sentence in your paragraph.
The shooting of Lupito
“Reason!” Chavez countered. “What reason did he have for killing my brother. You know,” he
addressed the men, “my brother did no one harm. Tonight a mad animal crawled behind him and took
his life. You call that reason! That animal has to be destroyed!” (20).
“I understand your sorrow Chavez,” *Narciso+ said, “but one killing is enough for tonight—“ (21).
The burial of Narciso
“Because Narciso was the town drunk, nobody cared much *about his death+. My father protested, but
there was little he could do, and so Narciso was buried and the town said he had died during one of his
drunks. He was a big and wild man; he drank and cursed like most men do, but he was a good man. He
died trying to help an old friend. He had the magic of growth in his hands and he passed it into the
earth. Now his house was deserted and his garden withered away, and few people remembered
anything good about Narciso”(177).
The persecution of Ultima
“’Give us the witch!’ ‘Give us the witch!’ they chanted and moved forward, but my father held his
ground. The hissing of the torches frightened me, but I took courage from my father” (131).
“’We came on an errand that is a law by custom. This man has proof that the curandera Ultima is a
witch, and if it is her curse that caused a death then she must be punished!’ The men around him
nodded in agreement. I was mortally afraid that Narciso, like my father, would anger the mob and we
would be overrun. Then I knew they would take Ultima and kill her” (132).
“’The golden carp,’ I said to myself, ‘a new god?’ I could not believe this strange story, and yet I could
not disbelieve Samuel. ‘Is the golden carp still here?’
‘Yes,’ Samuel answered. His voice was strong with faith. It made me shiver, not because is was cold but
because the roots of everything I had ever believed in seemed shaken. If the golden carp was a god,
who was the man on the cross? The Virgin? Was my mother praying to the wrong God?” (81).
Good vs. Evil in Bless Me, Ultima
One of the main themes of Bless Me, Ultima is good vs. evil. Too early in life, Antonio learns that there
is true evil in the world. Fortunately there is also good. Evil and good always come in pairs in the novel.
Anaya uses careful word choice and imagery, especially sounds and smells, to characterize the contest
between good and evil for the reader.
Please use one of the passages below to write a paragraph analyzing how the author presents good and
evil in the novel. Please reread the entire passage in your book to fully understand the quotations.
Please remember to have a topic sentence and a concluding sentence in your paragraph.
The coyotes and the owl
“The cry of hungry coyotes sounded outside. Their laughter-cry sounded directly outside the small
window of the room. I shivered. Their claws scratched at the adobe walls of the house. I looked
anxiously at Ultima, but she held her hand up in a sign for me to listen. We waited, listening to the
howling wind and the cries of the pack scratching at our wall. Then I heard it. It was the call of Ultima’s
owl. ‘O-oooo-ooo,’ it shrieked into the wind, dove and pounced on the coyotes. Her sharp claws found
flesh because the evil laughter of the coyotes changed to cries of pain” (99).
The witches and Uncle Lucas
“’When he was up close,’ my uncle continued, ‘Lucas saw that the fireballs began to acquire a form.
Three women dressed in black appeared. They made a fire in the center of the clearing. One produced
a pot and another an old rooster. They beheaded the rooster and poured its blood into the pot. Then
they began to cook it, throwing in many other things while they danced and chanted their incantations.
Lucas did not say what is was they cooked, but he said it made the most awful stench he had ever
“I was astounded at the courage of my uncle Lucas. No one in his right mind would confront the cohorts
of the devil!” (87).
“‘They were very angry to be caught performing their devilish mass. He said they screamed like furies
and were upon him, attacking him like wild animals—but he did the right thing. While he was behind
the tree he had taken two dead branches and quickly tied them together with a shoe lace. He made a
rude cross with the two sticks. Now he held up the holy cross in the face of those evil women and cried
out, ‘Jesus, Maria, y Jose!’ At the sight of the cross and at the sound of those holy words the three
sisters fell to the ground in a fit of agony and pain. They rolled on the ground like wounded animals and
he lowered the cross. Then they picked themselves up and fled into the darkness, cursing him as they
Ultima and Tenorio
“’I seek Tenorio!’ Ultima announced. Her voice was strong and confident. She stood tall, with a
nobleness to her stature that I had seen often when we walked on the llano” (93).
“The thin, hunched body *of Tenorio] jumped up and spun around. I think I jumped at the sight of his
face. It was thin and drawn, with tufts of beard growing on it. The eyes were dark and narrow. An evil
glint emanated from them. The thin lips trembled when he snarled” (93).
The golden carp and the black bass
“I turned in time to see Cico hurl his spear at the monstrous black bass that had broken the surface of
the waters. The evil mouth of the black bass was open and red. Its eyes were glazed with hate as it
hung in the air surrounded by chruing water and a million diamond droplets of water. The spear
whistled through the air, but the aim was low. The huge tail swished and contemptuously flipped it
“In the lake the golden carp appeared. His beautiful body glittered in the moonlight…Then he swam into
the blue velvet of the night, glittering as he rose towards the stars. The moon smiled on him and guided
him, and his golden body burned with such beautiful brilliance that he became a new sun in the
heavens. A new sun to shine its good light upon a new earth” (176).
Narciso and Tenorio
“They clutched at each other and spun around and around like two huge animals. Blood was already
blackening the snow as the wind buckled the two to the ground…I stood frozen, watching the deadly
scene, unable to do anything. Then I heard the second shot. This time it was not muffled by the wind
but by the body against which it had been fired. I held my breath as the living man untangled himself
from the dead one and stumbled to his feet. It was Tenorio” (168-169).
Morality in Bless Me, Ultima
One of the main themes of Bless Me, Ultima is morality or what is right and wrong. As Antonio, the
main character, grows up he begins to realize that people are not all good or all bad. He learns that
even God has his faults. Please use one or more of the quotations below to write a paragraph about
what Antonio learns about the people around him.
“Por Dios, hombres!” he shouted. “Let us act like men. That is not an animal down there, that is a man.
Lupito. You all know Lupito. You know that the war made him sick” (20).
“Wait!” Narciso shouted. He took Chavez’ rifle and with one hand held it up. Chavez struggled against
him but Narciso was too big and strong. “I will talk to him,” Narciso said. He pushed Chavez back. “I
understand your sorrow Chavez,” he said, “but one killing is enough for tonight—“ The men must have
been impressed by his sincerity because they stood back and waited (21).