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Death is a powerful theme in Bless Me, Ultima. Antonio bears witness to the frailty of human life through other characters' deaths in the novel. He fears death, but is curious and inquisitive, as most children are, about death--what does it mean, what happens to the deceased when they die? Being a sensitive child, Antonio even wonders about babies who have not yet been christened in the Church.
As Antonio comes of age, his understanding of death also evolves. He begins to realize and appreciate the uncertainty of life. Many of the deaths in the story impact Tony's own beliefs and faith. For example, Florence's death challenge's Tony's faith and belief in God, further underscoring the theme of the frailty of life.
Rudolfo Anaya uses the theme of death in Bless Me, Ultima to challenge and impact his main character, Antonio.
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