Bless Me, Ultima
by Rudolfo Anaya
Character Role Analysis
Harry has Dumbledore. Luke has Obi-Wan (and Yoda), Frodo has Gandalf. Every good protagonist needs a mentor. It helps if that mentor has some pretty solid magical skills. She is a curandera (a type of medicine woman), but many suspect she is a bruja (a witch), and it's quite possible that Ultima's actually a bit of both.
Ultima introduces Antonio to the world of magic, but her most effective guidance is simply teaching him how to live his life and to become a man. She provides words of wisdom to Antonio throughout the novel. Here are just a few of the lessons she bestows upon him:
- "You are growing, and growth is change. Accept the change, make it part of your strength."(21.89-90)
- "The smallest bit of good can stand against all the powers of evil in the world and it will emerge triumphant." (10.476-477)
- "Knowledge comes slowly." (2.697)
Ultima serves as Antonio's guide until her last breath. She uses her final words before she dies to bless Antonio. The last thing she utters to him is, "I shall be with you" (22.661-662).