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Free Study Guide: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya - Free BookNotes

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FREE STUDY GUIDE FOR BLESS ME, ULTIMA

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The present setting of the novel is Guadalupe, New Mexico. Two surrounding villages that have a strong influence on the people of Guadalupe are Las Pasturas, New Mexico, the land of the llano where the vaqueros or llaneros (cowboys) used to run their livestock and El Puerto de los Lunas, New Mexico, a village ten miles away from Guadalupe in the valley. It is the farmland of the Lunas.

It is set during the time of World War II (1941 - 1945) and after.

In a deeper sense, the novelís setting is in its cultural history. The land and the people are marked by the history of place. The spirit and lore of Native Americans, specifically Comanches, is present in the place and the people. They were displaced by the Spanish conquistadors who brought two kinds of people: the vaqueros (cowboys) of the llano (prairie) and the priests and farmers of the land. The traces of Mexican past are also in the land. New Mexico belonged to Mexico before it was taken by the U.S. in the Mexican War of 1855. The ancient religion of the Aztecs also persists in the customs of the people who presently inhabit New Mexico.


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Antonio Juan Márez y Luna (Anthony, Tony, Tonio)
The boy who is the subject of the story and man who is the present-day narrator.

Ultima
La Grande, a curandera; Antonio's mentor in curandismo.

María Luna
Antonio's mother, a devout Catholic from a farming family descended from a priest.

Gabriel Márez
Antonio's father, a llanero who has moved to the town to satisfy his wife.

Minor Characters

Deborah
Antonio's sister.

Theresa
Antonio's sister. Her mother says she has too much Márez in her when she speaks only English.

Benito Campos
Marez's vaquero friend to whom he gives his horse when he leaves the llano.

Bonney
A vaquero friend of Márez.

The Gonzales brothers
Vaquero friends of Márez.

Eugene Márez
The youngest of Antonio's older brothers.


Father Byrnes
The Catholic priest in Guadalupe.

Jasón
Antonio's friend.

Jasón's Indian
An old man who lives in a cave near the Indian burial grounds on the river.

Chávez
A man whose brother is killed by Lupito.

Lupito
A man who kills the sheriff of Guadalupe. He has just come home from war.

Vigil
A state policeman who patrols Guadalupe.

León
Antonio's eldest brother.

Andrew
Antonio's second eldest brother. Antonio is closest to Andrew, but finally rejects him when he sees Andrew betray his responsibility to Narciso so he can stay at a house of prostitution.

Rosie
A woman who owns a brothel in Guadalupe.

Father Luna
The first priest of El Puerto de los Lunas, an ancestor of the Lunas. He led the first colonizing party to New Mexico and founded the town.

Ernie
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe.

Abel
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys.

Horse
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys. He has the characteristics of a horse.

Bones
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys.

Samuel
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe.


The Vitamin Kid
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is a boy who runs all the time.

Florence
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. A tall and thin boy with blond hair. He is one of the Los Jaros boys. He is an orphan and he is an atheist. He dies from drowning at the end of the novel.

Lloyd
A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is very legalistic when it comes to Roman Catholicism.

Juan Luna
María Luna's brother.

Pedro Luna
María Luna's brother and Antonio's favorite uncle. He kills Tenorio at the end of the novel.

Prudencio Luna
María Luna's father.

Miss Maestas
Antonio's first grade teacher.

George and Willy
Two boys with whom Antonio shares lunch at school when he is laughed at by the other children for eating Mexican-American food instead of a sandwich.

Cico
A boy who shows Antonio the golden carp.

Lucas Luna
María Luna's brother who is cursed by a bruja and who Ultima saves with Antonio's help.

The flying man from Las Pasturas
Ultima's mentor in curandismo who gave her the owl.

The Trementina sisters
The daughters of Tenorio, the brujas who lay the curse on Lucas. Two of them die by the end of the novel.

Tenorio Trementina
The father of brujas, saloon owner, and barber. He kills Ultimaís owl at the end of the novel, effectively killing her.

Manuelito
A Sheep herder who warns Lucas Luna not to go near the grove of witches.

Pablo Luna
One of the brothers Luna.

Red
One of the gang of boys in Guadalupe, a Protestant.

Jesús Silva
A man from El Puerto who warns Ultima of Tenorio's witch hunt.

Blas Montaño, Manuelito and Cruz Sedillo
The men on the lynching party to kill Ultima.

Mateo Luna
The storyteller of the Luna family.

Porfirio Baca
A resident of El Puerto.

Aunt Oretea
The deaf and dumb wife of Uncle Mateo Luna.

Maxie
A boy in the school play.

Miss Violet
Antonio's third grade teacher.

Rita, Agnes, Lydia, Ida and June
Girls in Antonio's school.

Tellez
A man who lives on the Agua Negra ranch and comes to ask Ultimaís help when a curse is laid on it.

Dorotea Tellez
Married to Tellez, and suffers with him through the haunting of their house on the Agua Negra ranch.


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