Study Guide

Bless Me, Ultima Chapter 22

By Rudolfo Anaya

Chapter 22


  • Antonio dreams of the three people he has seen die: Lupito, Narciso, and Florence. Now, they live only in Antonio's dreams.
  • Antonio goes to work with his uncles on their farm, and on the drive there, he has his first adult conversation with his father. While talking, Antonio asks his dad, "can a new religion be made?" (22.160). 
  • Big Moment Alert. We're starting to see that Antonio might have the ability to reconcile all of the opposing forces pulling at him, that he might be able to embrace them all while developing into his own person with his own beliefs.
  • On the final day on the farm, his Uncle Pedro tells Antonio that he has worked very well, and that he's welcome to come back and work with them anytime if he wants to.
  • Uncle Juan arrives and warns Uncle Pedro that Tenorio is really cooking now. He's seeking immediate revenge on Ultima. Things are heating up.
  • Antonio returns to his grandfather's to prepare for the trip home. On his way, he's confronted by Tenorio. 
  • Uh oh. This can't be good. And indeed it isn't. Tenorio's horse almost tramples him, and Tenorio spits vows of revenge and hopes for Antonio's death. 
  • Then, Tenorio reveals how he will kill Ultima. He says that he now knows that her soul dwells in her owl, and Antonio knows it, too. 
  • He wants to hustle back to his grandpa's, but his way is blocked by Tenorio, so he takes off running the ten miles back to his house.
  • Antonio arrives just as Uncle Pedro pulls up, but they are too late. Tenorio's already there, wreaking havoc.
  • Tenorio kills the owl, and claims victory. Then he aims his gun at Antonio and prepares to kill him.
  • A shot rings out!
  • Tenorio drops to the ground. Uncle Pedro has fired the shot that killed him and saved Antonio's life.
  • Antonio rushes inside. His sisters are freaking out. Antonio tells his mother to get them to their room. His mother obeys. Looks like Antonio's the new boss.
  • Antonio finds Ultima drifting away, ready to die. 
  • The two share their last conversation together. Ultima asks Antonio to bury the owl under the forked Juniper tree. Antonio says, "Bless me, Ultima" (22.656), and she blesses him and his life to come. She tells him that if he despairs he should look for her, because she will be with him.
  • Then, sadly, Ultima dies. 
  • Antonio buries the owl as Ultima instructed.