From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima

  

by Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima Theme of Fear

It's nice to think that FDR nailed it in his inaugural address when he said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It's a strong statement and one of the great presidential lines ever spoken. But is it true in the real world? Is it true in Bless Me, Ultima? In the book, it seems that people aren't just afraid of the idea of fear or fear itself, but they are afraid of that which they can't explain. Power that goes beyond their understanding frightens them. This, not too surprisingly, often causes them to suspect, distrust, and lash out against the thing they do not understand, like, say, Ultima herself.

Questions About Fear

  1. Is Ultima afraid of anything? How does her view of fear affect the way Antonio views fear?
  2. Why does Anaya include a reference to the atomic bomb and the fear it causes in Bless Me, Ultima?
  3. Does fear alone lead Tenorio to strike out against Ultima, or is there something else in him that causes him to seek revenge on her?
  4. Is it weird that Antonio's mother is cool with having a magic lady in her house, but gets totally freaked out any time something supernatural is mentioned? How can we reconcile that?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Fear's what keeps Antonio alive. Without a healthy dose of fear, Antonio would have been closer to Narciso when the shots were fired, and might have kicked the bucket himself.

We are meant to fear Ultima as much as we respect her.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement