Bless Me, Ultima, By Rudolfo Anaya is a moving story about a boy who is the last hope of his family and must decide on a culture and his own fate. Throughout the book readers recognizes allusions to the Bible but mainly to the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is an alliance of three principles, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Antonio has three religions that influence him and each are alluded to the Trinity. The Father represents the Catholic religion and God, also the faith he resembles. The Golden Carp alludes to the Son, and his guidance of right and wrong and Antonio’s morality.
The Holy Spirit is represented by Ultima and old curandera that resembles wisdom. By analysis of the book Bless Me Ultima, Anya uses the allusion of the Holy Trinity to conclude that through wisdom, faith, and morality a conflict can be reconciled. Throughout the text, Rudolfo Anaya uses the allusion of the Holy Spirit illustrates that when one only relies on wisdom a conflict cannot be resolved. This conclusion is confirmed when Tenorio has blamed Ultima; who resembles wisdom and the Holy Spirit, for the loss of his child. It is not rumor,” Narciso pleaded, “he has gathered his cronies around him at the bar, he has filled them with whiskey all day, and he has convinced them to burn a witch! They come on a witchhunt! ” (Pg 128).
The citizen’s fear of Ultima shows that he is using the allusion of the Holy Spirit and when Antonio only relies on one part of his Holy Trinity he fails to commit to resolving his conflict. Then he soon finds himself and his family in danger. Antonio again only depends on the wisdom Ultima supplies him, and then he realizes an internal conflict he has created after witnessing a fight between Narciso and Andrew. Had I already lost my innocence? How? I had seen Lupito murdered… I had seen Ultima’s cure… I had seen the men come to hang her… I had seen the awful fight just now… I had seen and reveled in the beauty of the golden carp! Oh God! My soul groaned and I thought that it would burst and I would die huddled against the evil house. How had I sinned? (Pg 165).
Suggesting that Antonio has only leaned on Ultima he finds himself in a dilemma within his cultures in that he has been separating his cultures instead of creating intimacy between them. By only confiding in part of the Holy Trinity one has to go through a cultural struggle without it being reconciled. Numerous times in the text Anaya uses the allusion of the Father in the Holy Trinity to explain that when one only focuses on faith a cultural conflict will not be compensated. For example, during one of Antonio’s dreams, he interprets God as a sort of evil figure. “You foolish boy, God roared, don’t you see you are caught in your own trap! You would have a God who forgives all, but when it comes to your personal whims you seek punishment for your vengeance… Vengeance is Mine!
He shouted, not even your golden carp would give up that power as a god“(Pg 173). The fact that God is illustrated as a bad character in his dream it is clear that Anaya is using allusion within the Holy Trinity in that it is not enough to only take part in one section and might result in doubts like Antonio’s. Also, after the death of Narciso, Antonio returns back to school and has many things running through his mind. “I thought a great deal about God and why he let such things happen… Perhaps, I thought, God had not seen the murder take place, and that’s is why He had not punished Tenorio.
Perhaps God was too busy in heaven to worry or care about us”(Pg 186-187). The author uses the feeling of doubt in faith to show that when Antonio regulates the faith in his life he ends with failure. This occurs because Anaya uses allusion within the Holy Trinity to suggest that if you only regard the Father and the faith in which he represents one’s cultural conflict will not cease. As Anaya uses the allusion of the Son in the Holy Trinity it is evident that only confining in morality concludes to a cultural conflict.
Readers experience this conflict multiple times throughout the text. One specific event is when Cico and Antonio are having a conversation about the Golden Carp and how Antonio would like to see the fish. “We have never taken a non-believer to see him,” he said solemnly. “But I want to believe, “ I looked up and pleaded, “it’s just that I have to believe in Him? ” (Pg 107). The author alludes to the culture of the Golden Carp to resemble the Son in the Holy Trinity; one sees here that when Antonio contradicts his religion and only focuses on his morals.
Also when Antonio says “Its just that I have to believe in Him? ” it is clear that faith and wisdom are not being considered in his decisions and because of that, cause conflict. Antonio’s morals rise and fall throughout the book according to his three cultures and the three parts in his Holy Trinity. When he only relies on morality we find that he is lost within himself. While Antonio is with Cico and they are waiting for the Golden Carp to show one of Antonio’s friends, Florence, dies in the water.
Later that night he has a dream where all that he had lived for is now being killed around him. “Look! He pointed to the creek where Cico lay in wait for the golden carp. When the golden carp appeared Cico struck with his spear and the water ran blood red” (Pg 244). Through the allusion of the Son this passage and the resemblance of the Golden Carp being killed shows that if one is too strong in one section of the Holy Trinity it is no good. When Cico murders the Golden Carp it concludes that Antonio cannot accommodate his three cultures by keeping them separate and not combined.
It is apparent that the most ineffective way to reconcile a cultural conflict is only alluding to one of the three constituents of the Holy Trinity. By closely examining Anaya’s use in allusion, it is clear that the most effective way to handle cultural conflicts is to believe in morality, wisdom, and faith. Antonio’s conflict is a result of not combing the three parts of the Holy Trinity. While he is in church he is listening to the priest speak. “How many persons are there in one God? ” he continued. “Three. The Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost” (Pg 199).
The author chooses to literally say that a God cannot work without the three main components. This shows resemblance in Antonio’s life when he tries to keep Catholicism, The Golden Carp, and Ultima all separate pieces. He questions if he can combine or create resolution for his conflict but hesitates to take action. “Does one have to choose? ” I asked. “Is it possible to have both? ”(Pg 238). This shows that Antonio recognizes his problem and starts to connect with all three parts of the Trinity, wishing they could all are one, and not realizing he has the power to do so.
Through the power of the Holy Trinity, (God, The Golden Carp, and Ultima) Antonio comes to the conclusion to reconcile his cultural struggles. “‘Take the llano and the river valley, the moon and the sea, God, and the golden carp-and make something new, I said to myself. That is what Ultima meant by building strength from life… Papa, I asked, Can a new religion be made? ”(Pg. 247). Anaya attempts to inspire the reader by illustrating that within togetherness one can incorporate their cultures and create a new one.
To conclude in Antonio’s struggle within himself it is inevitable that one can overcome a cultural battle by reliance of faith, wisdom, and morality. The Holy Trinity does not work if all parts aren’t connected. In Antonio’s life, the only way he would become successful it to combine and control his three cultures into one, never letting one over power the other. In Bless Me, Ultima; one can see a reoccurrence of resemblance to the Trinity and many other Bible references. Rudolfo Anaya suggests that one has the power to do anything with wisdom, faith, and morality in his or hers heart.
Courtney from Study Moose
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