Study Guide

Bless Me, Ultima Coming-of-Age

By Rudolfo Anaya


Bless Me, Ultima chronicles Antonio's loss of innocence and his growth from boy to man. It just happens to Antonio much earlier in life than it does to most. But what's interesting here is not the fact that Antonio grows up (hate to say it, but we kind of saw that one coming), but how he grows up. It's definitely not in your typical fashion. Instead of dealing with first kisses and drivers ed, Antonio wrestles with philosophical questions that have plagued the oldest of men for ages. So while he comes of age here, it's clear he was already wise beyond his years.

Questions About Coming-of-Age

  1. What drives Antonio to find the answers to all of the questions he has? Does he find all those answers?
  2. What kind of knowledge does Ultima offer Antonio that no one else in the book has to offer?
  3. When he sees the golden carp, how does Antonio's life change?
  4. Is the way Antonio grows up similar to the way you grew up? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In some ways, Antonio matures far faster than his friends. But he skipped a grade, so in some ways, he's still a little behind. This is summed up best when the Vitamin Kid chooses to walk with Ida on the bridge rather than race Antonio.

Antonio's progression to manhood is marked with death. It seems that witnessing multiple murders and seeing a close friend drown go a long way in pushing a young boy to grow up fast.