Bless Me, Ultima may be viewed as a coming of age or rite of passage story, of a young person's education and development.
What other such stories -in literature or film- might this novel be compared to? How does it differ from them?
If the question can't be answered, an explanation of what exactly the question is asking would also be helpful. Thank you in advance.
The question here is asking us to compare Bless Me, Ultima with other narrative works (books/films) using theme and central concepts from the book as the basis of our comparison.
The central concept of "coming of age" refers to the idea that the narrator achieves a new sense of adulthood or maturity over the course of the story, leaving childhood behind in one way or another.
A major theme in Bless Me, Ultima is the transition from innocence to experience.
Other coming of age tales from American literature include To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye. To Kill a Mockingbird has quite a few similarities with Anaya's novel. The novel's are both narrated in the first person by the protagonist and the books cover the first two years of the narrators' experiences at school. They also focus on a confilct between the narrator's family and a lone, angry outcast who represents another family (while also representing evil).
While these novel's share major similarities (even more than I've listed here), Harper Lee's novel differs from Anaya's in the socially progressive content that characterizes To Kill a Mockingbird. The social backdrop of that book is social and political. Anaya's book uses religion as its backdrop.
The universal aspects of Anaya's novel might be its concern with the child's path toward "independent self" or "distinct identity". Themes of sympathy-as-strength and love-as-understanding are also potential universals to consider in the novel.