What is the significance of Ultima's owl early in Bless Me, Ultima?
Antonio notices the owl for the first time when Ultima comes to stay with them. It is in the juniper tree outside Ultima's window, and is obviously special because no other owl comes that close to the house. The owl is Ultima's guardian spirit, and Antonio often hears it again in moments of crisis.
The appearance of the owl serves to articulate and symbolize Ultima's special understanding of/with nature.
Antonio learns many lessons from Ultima, one of the most important being that nature has a power and should be respected. Humans are a part of a larger circle of being.
To Tony she says, “You have been seeing only parts . . . and not looking beyond into the great cycle that binds us all.”
Ultima's owl arrives with Ultima at Antonio's family's house, symbolizing the idea that Ultima is bound with nature. As an active character, the owl protects Ultima and the family and watches over them. Though Antonio initially is disturbed by the owl (because witches/brujas have been known to take the shape of owls), he quickly comes to realize that Ultima's owl is a protective presence.