Study Guide

Bless Me, Ultima Chapter 4

By Rudolfo Anaya

Chapter 4


  • Ultima takes Antonio out to start picking herbs and plants with her, and he starts to learn more about her practices.
  • From Ultima, Antonio learns that there is a proper way to communicate with living things. Before he picks a plant that Ultima will use as medicine, he has to tell the plant why they are pulling it from the earth. 
  • Through stories that Ultima tells (or starts to tell), Antonio starts to imagine what the past on the llano must have been like. 
  • Ultima discusses the "presence of the river" with Antonio. Antonio has always been afraid of this presence, but Ultima tells him if he listens, he can understand and speak to the presence. So we can check plant whispering and river whispering off our list of skills.
  • At night, Antonio and the family pray the rosary before his mother's altar of the Virgin de Guadalupe. We're betting he's suffering from a bit of spiritual whiplash here.
  • That night, Antonio dreams his brothers will return home from the War, his mother will ask the Virgin to make him a priest, and that his mother will end up mourning him.