Bless Me, Ultima
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. How do María’s and Gabriel’s attitudes regarding the process of growing up relate to Antonio’s future?
2. Antonio struggles to choose between his maternal and paternal heritages. What are the conflicts within his parents’ heritages?
3. How does seeing Andrew at Rosie’s house affect Antonio’s opinion of Andrew?
4. Antonio has a dream in which the golden carp’s prophecy comes true. How does his dream demonstrate Antonio’s growing understanding of the religion of the golden carp?
5. When Ultima blesses Antonio on his first day of school, he feels the power of a whirlwind surround him. How does local folklore regard whirlwinds? What realization do whirlwinds help Antonio make about good and evil?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Both Ultima and Narciso are called “magic” by various characters in the book. Compare and contrast the characters of Ultima and Narciso. How does Ultima’s brand of magic differ from Narciso’s? How are they alike? In what sense might each character be called “magic”?
2. What does Antonio learn from his conversation with Gabriel during the trip to El Puerto after Florence’s death? How does this lesson help to prepare him for the challenges that lie ahead?
3. What is the significance of the conflict between English-speakers and Spanish-speakers that Antonio encounters at school? Why is language so important in the novel? In what sense does this conflict give Antonio perspective on the conflict within his family?
4. In María’s view, how are sexuality, adulthood, and sin related? Why is childhood preferable to adulthood? How do these factors influence her desire for Antonio to become a priest? And how does María’s own childhood influence her current beliefs?
5. What does Antonio learn from watching Gabriel cope with the rebellion of Antonio’s brothers?
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!