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BLESS ME, ULTIMA BY RUDOLFO ANAYA: FREE STUDY GUIDE
Gabriel becomes depressed at his sons' talk of leaving. He drinks all
day and comes home in a morose mood. He talks nostalgically about how
they used to work together in building the house. He cries as he tells
the story. He tells them that the line of the windmill has come loose
an he will have to go outside in the ice storm to fix it. The sons let
him do this dangerous job alone. The next day they leave while he is still
at work. Andrew goes with them.
Antonio learns in this chapter that his older brothers will forever
be vague memories to him and distant strangers on rare visits. The sons
do the worst thing possible to their father. They let him risk his life
in an ice storm and do not offer to help him. They have abdicated all
duties as sons of their father. He knows what their inaction means and
so does everyone else in the household.
After Christmas holiday, Antonio returns to school and looks forward to his catechism. He feels as if he has been changed by Narciso's death. He sees Cico who tells him they will go to see the golden carp in the summer and tell it about Narciso’s death so as to get instructions on what to do. He does not see Jasón. He keeps to himself. He tries to find an answer to the injustice of Narciso's death and Tenorio's continued life. He tries to reconcile this injustice with his notions of God and punishment. He wonders if God is at all interested in justice. He prays but gets no answer. He prays then to the Virgin and she listens. He looks hard at the altar candles burning at the Virgin's feet and he closes his eyes and imagines she turns into God.
He remembers his mother telling him the e story of the Mexican boy, Diego, who had first seen la Virgen de Guadalupe. He had appeared to him, spoken to him and given him a sign. She made roses grow on a barren rocky hill. Antonio dreams so much of the Virgin, that he always expects to meet her around every corner.
On day he meets Tenorio standing under the juniper tree where he had murdered Narciso. He curses Antonio, calling him damned and unlucky and wretched. Antonio shouts back, "Jesús, María y José!" He crosses his thumb over his first finer and holds it up before Tenorio. Tenorio tells him his daughter is dying and blames it on Ultima. He vows to destroy Ultima. Antonio[s is very afraid and wants to run, but he remembers how his father stood up to Tenorio and he also remembers how Ultima did, so he stands firm. He answers that he will not let Tenorio hurt Ultima. Tenorio tells Antonio that his curse is that he knows too much and then he turns and disappears into the dust.
Antonio tells Ultima. She is concerned that Tenorio cursed Antonio. She questions him to make sure Tenorio did not touch him. Ultima assures Antonio that Tenorio is not a threat because he has no "manly strength." She tells him Tenorio was at the site of his murder because of a bad conscience and that there can be no forgiveness for him.
Antonio is comforted by her assurances. He often wakes up at night and
finds her awake working with her herbs.
Anaya sets up the terms of the end of the novel here. Antonio is part of it,
a sort of mediator between Tenorio and Ultima. Ultima's cure of Lucas
meant turning the curse back on the Trementina sisters. Now the second
one is dying and Tenorio knows Ultima is responsible. He cannot accept
the fact that his daughters started the chain of events, he can only blame
Ultima. Ultima seems almost superhuman in this chapter. Antonio wakes
often in the middle of the night and finds her awake. She seems never
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. 09 May 2017