In the story Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, there are clues that are left throughout the story that lead the reader to one of two conclusions depending on how the reader sees the characters and there actions. the first conclusion is that Ultima is a messenger form satin and is working for the devil himself. The second conclusion is that Ultima is a person that walks the earth and preforms miracles and saves lives through the use of her magic and power.
Ever person in the story that hears the word witch immediately thinks evil, I believe that this is not the case. Both Ultima and Tenorio’s daughters use the same power and magic, but they use the power and magic in very different ways. I believe that both the daughters and Ultima are witches because they wield the same force and power, they both have extensive knowledge of herbs and the both perform ceremonies to perform there miracles. So in my opinion they are one and the same in terms of what they can do. The difference comes when we look at what they do with there magic. The sisters use it to destroy and kill. Ultima uses her power to heal and save lives. Except for one instance when Ultima uses her powers to slowly kill the daughters of Tenorio. But to me this action was justified.
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Throughout the novel Ultima is always trying to undo the harm and destruction that the Trementina sisters have caused. She does this multiple times. The first time is when she cures Lucas of his lethal curse and in turn reflects the cures back onto the daughters and two of the witches perish for there mistake. The second time that Ultima unravels one of the witch’s evil plots is when the witches revive the dead spirits of the ancient Indians and use them to cures the house of Tellez and his family. Ultima is asked to come and help and she does. She performs a ceremony that puts the restless souls at peace and the curse is then lifted. In these two cases Ultima is on the side of good.
Ultima shows that she is a good witch when she heals Lucas and Tony. After Narciso is shot Tony comes down with a nasty little fever and goes into a nightmarish sleep for a while. But Tony always remembers that Ultima was at his side every time he opened his eyes. And every time Tony has a question or is trying to find an answer Ultima helps him to discovery it on his own. From the legend of the Golden carp to the Indians that lived there before them she has given tony a lot of knowledge.
The one side of this story that I could understand Ultima being evil, is the fact that Tony is trying to become a Catholic and he goes to church and finally gets his first Communion and Confession. But throughout the story Tony has witnessed many situations when the magic of a pagan god or another person over powers the power of the church. For instance, when Lucas is dying of the of the witches curse both the doctor and the priests come to try and save him but even the priests cannot. Then comes Ultima who single-handedly destroys the curse, saves Lucas, and reflects the curse back onto the original casters of the curse, the Trementina sisters. And in the process two of the witches die from there own curse. In this case Ultima not only had greater power then modern medicine, but also had greater power then the Catholic Church itself. A second example of this is when Tony heres the legend of the Golden Carp. He heres from Cico that the golden carp is a god that has taken mortal form, and watches over its people. When Tony goes home he asks Ultima about the Golden Carp and she told him that it is true. This is another point in which Ultima is helping Tony find his own path but it could lead away form the church. A third example of UltimaЃfs power being greater then the churches is at the house of the Tellez family. A priest came to the house and blessed that ground making it a holy site. But the curse continued its reign of terror on the family. Finally Ultima comes and in, and in about a day sets the house and family back to normal and removes the curse.
Ultima’s reputation must also be considered. Everyone in the town believes that she is a La Curendara or a good witch except for one person and that is Tenorio. He believes her to be an evil witch that needs to be killed. And in the end this rage and hatred culminates in his death. But every other perosn in the story believes that she is a curendara and not a witch. But instead everyone believes that Tenorio’s daughters are witches known as the Trementina sisters. The people believe in this so much that they wonЃft even let the bodies of the sisters into the church and Tenorio is forced to bury his daughter on unholy ground. That means that without a blessing from a priest and being buried on unholy ground she will surly got to hell even if she was not a witch.
Another instance in which Ultima’s reputation is that of a good witch is when the mob of angry people come to Tony’s house and demand that Ultima be tried and convicted as a witch and then punished by death. During this Narciso stands up to the mob and asks them to test Ultima, to see if she is really a witch and they agree. So when Ultima is about to pass through the door Ultima’s owl attacks Tenorio and shreds one of his eyes. But during this commotion Ultima passes through the door and is standing on the other side when everybody looks up and sees her outside then they all know that she is a good witch. But at the end of the whole ordeal Tony finds the cross lying on the ground under the door this part leaves you hanging in suspense because the reader dose not know if she is really a witch or not. But I believe that this part of the story adds evidence to my theory that Ultima is a witch but one that does good things not bad.
In this story the owl is a major symbol. The owl in Hispanic culture is an evil bird. And when ever an owl is encountered it is like a curse or bad luck. So I believe that in this story the owl is ment to show the reader that Ultima is a witch but a good one.
So throughout the story Anaya leaves all kinds of hints from the owl to the fact that the Trementina sisters use the same power that Ultima does. I believe that Ultima is a witch in every way possible except for the fact that she uses her power to help people not hurt them, and that’s what truly separates good from evil.
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