Bless Me, Ultima
by Rudolfo Anaya
Gabriel Márez and Maria Luna
Ah, parents. They can be the greatest thing in all the world, and they can also drive you utterly insane. Hey, it's what they do. It turns out that parents in a small New Mexico town during World War II aren't all that different from parents today. Sure, they love and care for their children, but at times, they can hold on a little too tight.
Antonio's mom and dad prove to be caring parents who want what's best for their family. They're well-rounded characters with hopes and dreams of their own, and they do show some development through the novel.
Parents Growing Up
Antonio's father comes to accept that there might be magic in the world when he sees the haunting of the Téllez house. In the end, though, he still chooses a more rational view than others around him, saying to Antonio, "But in the end, magic is magic, and one does not explain it so easily. That is why it is magic […]. So, in the end, I accept reality" (22.203-208).
For her part, Antonio's mother grows from what some call an overprotective mother to one who sees her son as a man. When Ultima's owl is killed by Tenorio and Tenorio is killed by Uncle Pedro, Antonio's sisters grow very frightened. Antonio tells his mother to take them to their room, and she "nodded and obeyed" (22.618-619). Antonio speaks to her like a man (not a boy) at the end of the novel, and she doesn't question his manhood or his authority.
While Antonio's parents' relationship and their personal journeys are interesting, they serve a much more symbolic role in the book than many other characters. As said many, many times before, Antonio's parents represent the two very different directions in which Antonio is being pulled. Will he grow into a wandering Márez like his father, or will he become the farmer-priest his mother so desperately wants him to be? Early on in the novel, she makes her dreams known to her youngest son, telling him, "You will be like my brothers. You will be a Luna, Antonio. You will be a man of the people, and perhaps a priest" (1.301-303).
As clear as his mother makes her dreams for him, in the end, it's pretty safe to say that Antonio will choose his own destiny—a destiny separate from the ones his parents have laid out for him, but much of his growing up is learning to accept that both Márez blood and Luna blood courses through his veins.