Study Guide

Bless Me, Ultima Identity

By Rudolfo Anaya


In Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio's search for his own identity is all about mixing and mingling. Try on a little Catholicism for size, and then see how Ultima's belief system fits. Ponder roaming the llano, while also pondering what it might be like to farm it instead. He's been drawn by his mother's dreams and his father's dreams and by differing religions, but to truly become his own man Antonio's got to find a way to incorporate all that he's learned and make his own discoveries about the nature of the world around him.

Questions About Identity

  1. What differences exist between the Luna and the Márez? How do you see those differences play out in Little Antonio?
  2. Why do you think Antonio has such a difficult time identifying with his sisters and his brothers?
  3. When he is pretending to be the priest for his schoolmates, why does Antonio absolve Florence?
  4. What traits does Antonio share with Ultima?

Chew on This

Antonio's idea of a "new religion" builds on many different religious beliefs that have come before. It's like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where they go into an old house, break it apart, throw a bunch of new stuff in there, and walk away with a totally new house.

In order for Antonio to become a man, he must step away from his parents. For a lot of kids, that happens when they go off to college. Antonio knocks it out at a much younger age and goes to work with his uncles for a summer while he's still in elementary school.