Misconceptions of Narciso and Florence in Bless Me Ultima

Categories: Novel

Not Only What Meets the Eye

In the novel Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, a boy named Antonio grows up among people that are judged unfairly. Within this time, Antonio observes two men (Narciso and Florence) demonized by many people, but deep down are perfectly good people. Narciso is an alcoholic who tries desperately to be good to Ultima(Antonio's role model). He dies attempting to warn Ultima about an evil man named Tenorio. Florence is a boy who grew very poor in an unfortunate family and is an atheist because of his experience.

The Catholic boys Florence grew up with ridicule him all the time about how he is going to hell but in reality is a very nice, calm person who is willing to stand up for other oppressed people. He wants to make friends, not enemies. In the novel Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya Narciso and Florence, are seen by many as evil people but in reality are compassionate and noble.

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Firstly, Narciso is looked upon by the majority of people in the town as the town drunk and an animal(a bad person), but he is actually a very compassionate man who gives his life for another. When Narciso confronts a crowd trying to kill Ultima, Narciso is "considered the town drunk"(132) by the mob. The mob leader, Tenorio, calls Narciso an “animal"(132) and Narciso admits this, saying "I may well be a beast, but I am not a fool"(132). The mob's opinion, influenced by their leader's comments, is that Narciso is a drunken beast.

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When Narciso dies a few chapters later, Antonio comments that “because Narciso was the town drunk, nobody cared much"(177). In addition, nothing good is ever said by the public about Narciso. This paints Narciso as a bad person, but on the contrary, he was a good man"(177). When he learns of Tenorio's plans to hurt Ultima, he tries desperately to warn Ultima that she could be in danger. Even though it is the middle of winter and he is very cold, Narciso valiantly states “I will go warn Marez[Ultima's relative] myself, just as I did before"(167). Antonio remarks that “my clothes were wet and ice was beginning to form on the outside"(167). Narciso's sacrifice for the sake of Ultima is very brave and proves that he is willing to go through intense pain for the sake of other's well being. This is selflessness, not selfishness. On top of that, on his way to warn Ultima, he is shot and killed by Tenorio, meaning he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for others. Narciso's complete abandonment of his own life for others refutes the ideas proclaiming Narciso a corrupt man.

Florence is another person who is seen as evil but is in reality compassionate and noble. Due to the fact that he clearly states he is an atheist, most of the people he socializes with view him as bad. While enacting a mock confession, Florence says "I have not sinned"(213). The group members are furious, and yell" "Stone him!” “Beat him!” “Kill him!" "(213). Even the girls agree with this method, who in this book are usually very shy, moderate, and perfect in memorizing the catechism. Even more moderate people believe he is evil, so the radical people(the boys) believe this even more strongly. The group hates Florence because of his different beliefs, but have no idea of the good things he does. When Red, a protestant who is frequently oppressed by the Catholic majority, is told that Protestants "go to hell"(195), Florence responds“'No they don't'"(195) as he is “defending the Protestants[Red]”(195). Florence is willing to defend his friend against the majority of the people. The boy saying Red is going to hell is known to fight and wrestle with other boys. Florence selflessly leaves behind his own beliefs as well as his safety to defend a friend. Furthermore, Florence is not friends with everyone to hurt them. Florence “just don't does not want to be left out"(195). He also said he "wanna [wants to be with you guys"(195). Florence socializes with people of different religions because he wants friendship, not for an evil reason. He defends people for friendship, not for a vile reason. Florence's peers may criticize him and think he is a bad person but in reality is a person who seeks friendship and is a good person.

Throughout the novel, Narciso and Florence are falsely belittled by the masses as bad people. Narciso and Florence stand in society among their peers, but are at the same time excommunicated from it because of what has been put onto them by other people. Narciso is condemned by the town as a bad drunk, but has a heart of compassion for others, eventually giving his life for them. Florence is frowned upon as an atheist, but he has shown with actions and words that he desires friendship with them, even if they disagree with his religious beliefs. The two characters are identical in this fashion: they are looked down upon by society but are not only what the people say about them, they are better. Bless Me, Ultima includes two nearly identical characters that, even though they are insulted and abused by society, are still good and selfless people.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Misconceptions of Narciso and Florence in Bless Me Ultima. (2021, Dec 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-misconception-of-narciso-and-florence-as-evil-people-in-the-novel-bless-me-ultima-by-rudolfo-anaya-essay

Misconceptions of Narciso and Florence in Bless Me Ultima essay
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