Bless Me, Ultima

by Rudolfo Anaya

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What is the major source of conflict for Antonio‘s mother and father in Bless Me, Ultima?

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Antonio’s full name is Antonio Marez y Luna—showing that the two sides of his family are distinct from one another. His mother is a Luna (the moon), while his father is a Marez (the sea). The moon and the sea affect one another—the push and pull of the moon on the sea is an essential part of understanding the symbolism of the dichotomy. Antonio’s family is one of the many representations of how two things that are different can pull a person in the opposite direction, and those differences are what Antonio must synthesize to grow at the end of the novel.

Antonio’s parents mostly disagree over what Antonio should grow up to do. His father wants Antonio to grow up to become a vaquero, a cowboy, and wander the llano as his family’s people have done for generations. Antonio’s mother disagrees—she wishes him to follow in her family’s footsteps and become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. While his parents disagree about what they want Antonio to do, they are still able to be together as a family, which helps Antonio navigate the issue of identity later in the novel.

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