Identity through violence in Bless Me Ultima

Categories: Bless Me Ultima

Finding Identity through Violence

With so much violence in today's world, it can have either a positive effect or a negative effect on children. In Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, Antonio faces so much violence during his childhood years and it deeply affects him. Antonio sees violence as a major tension to find his own identity in life through bullying at school, seeing Lupito suffering a disorder from World War Two, and the Tenorio spreading evil.

Antonio is first exposed to violence at school.

On the first day of first grade, Antonio's classmates start to tease Antonio about Ultima being a witch. Antonio tries to defend himself and Ultima to tell his classmates that “[Ultima] is not a witch; she is a good woman”(146).. After Tony finishes that sentence, Ernie starts to fight back. During the fight, Antonio was in huge pain when Ernie pinned him down and more people piled on top of him to hurt Antonio. Eventually, the teachers from the junior high school separated each child from the pile.

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What Antonio realizes after this fight is that a handful of people around the world do not show signs of good and that acts such as Ernie bullying him and accusing Ultima as a witch occur almost every day. In a way, Antonio is not affect that deeply, but it helps him to become a stronger man if anything similar happens like this again in the future.

Another act of violence is when Lupito goes crazy with suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Lupito is a World War Two veteran who is suffering PTSD. One day, Antonio eavesdropped in a conversation between Narciso and his father saying that Lupito killed the sheriff and that some people are needed to stop him from being worse. During the scene where his father and some soldiers are holding fire at Lupito, Antonio stays low and under the bridge and witnesses Lupito getting shot at after he shot in the air. After a few days, Antonio's grandfather spoke about Lupito's death, saying that the World War Two, or the war “of the Germans and Japanese is reaching into all of us” (49). Lupito's death is a huge significance of suffering because coming out of World War Two is not mentally and emotionally easy and Lupito has to pay the price by getting shot at. Antonio, based on witnessing something worse than some kid bullying him about Ultima, is greatly affected because violence by shooting people is horrifying to him, but at the same time, it helps him learn about the acts about the world both good and evilly.

The bullying at school and the death of Lupito comes together when Tenorio begins to threaten and become a mad-man. Tenorio is a guy who spreads so much evil in the world. An example of Tenorio spreading evil is when he threatens to kill Ultima for being a witch when she is just a curandera. On the way to heal Lucas, Ultima passes along Tenorio and he mentions that Ultima should be gone for good because she ‘killed his first daughter.' Unfortunately, Tenorio gets denied and months later, when he brings an angry mob to get Ultima, her owl attacks Tenorio and blinds him in one eye. That is when Tenorio says he “curses [her]! I will see [her] dead! And you, Narciso, I swear to kill you!" (135). As the journey comes to a close, Tenorio gets shot at and killed by Antonio's uncle after Tenorio kills the owl. After so much violence and witnessing a shooting rampage, Antonio is deeply affected because of Ultima's death and that takes notice of how much violence is in the world after seeing so much tension over the last couple years.

During the past couple years, Antonio witnesses so much violence and death in his childhood as a major tension in his life through the school bullies, Lupito's disorder, and Tenorio's threats. After facing so much brutality and tension in his life, did Antonio define his character as he grew up? Actually, seeing 5 deaths over a short period of time scarred him mentally and emotionally, but he actually learns about the world and himself as a person. As a result, Antonio has grew up and defined his personality and has become a man.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Identity through violence in Bless Me Ultima. (2021, Dec 12). Retrieved from

Identity through violence in Bless Me Ultima essay
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