Chinua Achebe and Rudolfo Anaya write stories about two people that must over come struggles and difficulties in life. The characters in both stories must overcome internal and external conflict. A theme expressed in both stories is that everyone has conflicted and struggles in their life but they must overcome and make the best of the situation. This theme is expressed through character thoughts, symbolism and character experiences. In Anaya’s story, Bless Me Ultima, the main character, Antonio must over come many different obstacles, in one summer.
Throughout Antonio’s summer he experiences death everywhere, he experiences the death of a stranger, family friend, and 2 close friends, but some how through it all he stays strong. He witnesses the death of a dear friend, “ the lonely river was a sad place to be when one is a small boy who has just seen a friend die” (Anaya, 231). Antonio wintness the death of someone from town, Lupito, although he did not really know the man, witnessing the death of anyone can be saddening, “ I saw Lupito lifted off his feet and hurled backwards by the bullets. (Anaya 20)
Not only did Antonio have to say goodbye to the people who died, shortly after his brothers returned from war, they were gone again, “I wondered if I would ever really know my brothers, or would the remain but phantoms of my dream. ” ( Anya, 178) Although Antonio was not a smiling laughing child through the course of the story, he did remain positive and continued moving forward. In Achebe’s short story Civil Peace, the main character Jonathan Iwegbu and his family go through a devastating 3 year war, however he continues to stay strong, this shows through comparisons and symbolism.
Instead of the character being depressed and whoa it is me, he is thankful and feels he is blessed, “He had come of the war with five inestimable blessings- his head, his wife Maria’s head, and the head of the three of their four children. ” (Achebe, 358) Things we take forgranted in America Jonathan considered them miracles. “As a bonus he also has his old bicycle- a miracle too…” (Achebe, 359) Another example, “the newest miracle was his little house in Ogui Overside….. Of course the doors and windows were missing and five sheets of the roof” (Achebe 359). Rusted bike, and damaged house, these our things many people would be disappointed to have, Jonathan is just grateful to have anything, with everything he has been through, he finds the better side of the situation. The thoughts and words of both characters is clear evidence of perseverance and determination to continue moving forward. “ Let it go where everything else has gone. Nothing puzzles God” (Achebe, 364).
Jonathan says this after the robbers come to his house, he is saying that let them take the money, more was taken in the war, and that God knows what he is doing. Even after all the money he has worked hard for is taken Jonathan still does not get down on himself, like Antonio. “The rest of the summer was good for me, good in a sense that is was filled with its richness and I made strength from everything that had happened to me, so that in the end even the final tragedy could not defeat me” (Anaya, 237). This though Antonio had sums up the theme of both stories all in one.
Both characters will take what the world throws at them and use it to make them stronger, and they will continue to live. These stories were both straightforward and easy to keep up with, but they had deeper meanings within the story. There wasn’t only the one theme I have described for you, but many other ones. However the theme that popped out at me, was basically what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Which is No matter what people go through they must find the strength within to persevere and continue living their life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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