What is the significance of the title "Bless Me, Ultima"? I read the book this summer and I understand Antonio speaks theses words to Ultima right before she dies, but I don't fully understand the...

What is the significance of the title "Bless Me, Ultima"?

I read the book this summer and I understand Antonio speaks theses words to Ultima right before she dies, but I don't fully understand the true meaning behind the words.

Asked on by forshame417

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Some of the title's significance relates to Antonio's struggles to decide what to believe.

Antonio is divided between a temptation to believe in the benevolent spiritualism of Cico and Samuel and the generally accepted religious views of the Catholic church. He is confused about how the Catholic God could allow certain evil things to happen. He reflects on his preference for the Virgin Mary, for a time, then finds himself drawn to the beauty of Cico's story of the Golden Carp. 

In the end, Tony finds that navigating among these divergent cultures is possible when he forges his own identity among them, taking pieces of each to suit his own purposes.

Ultima shows Antonio how to do this through her example.

She is the one thing he is absolutely sure of. He trusts her wisdom. When Ultima blesses Antonio in the end, she does not invoke any gods, but instead provides a blessing of simple hope, invoking the idea of goodness instead of God.

Sources:

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