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On one hand, we have the Mexican traditional life style: Antonio's father was a men of the llano, a vaquero; his mother is from a family of free farmers. Saldivar says: Bless Me, Ultima thus can be said to capture in the form of romance critical and complex transition period in literary-cultural history of the South west: the simultaneous existence within Chicano communities of pre-Columbian myths, beliefs, legends and superstitions, and mid-twentieth century technological, literate mass media culture. As I mention before, Bless Me Ultima presents the struggle between two different life styles and cultures.
Ramon Saldivar does an extensive study of Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, and as well as Shirley and Shirley, he seems to be afraid of calling or recognizing a representation of a border culture.
Much good in this novel, beauty, magic, New Mexico landscape, legends... All of this is true, but there is more that they did not mention. Each of the story lines of thought of Antonio represents not only a personal conflict, but also a social one. Inner fights and double realities are present through out Antonio's development.
The Identification and Analysis of Chicano Literature. At he same time, Antonio is going to school across the bridge, to an American school.
Talking about his families Antonio says: "I love them both, and yet I am of neither (Anaya, 38).
Should he decide his own future no matter what the consequences are?
Should he become a farmer or a priest as his mother wanted? In other words, where he comes from, what he is, and how he is supposed to behave is the conflict that it is going on inside him. In the same way, we may say that Antonio's passion, blood, or impulse are like the sea, but his thoughts, his common sense comes from his mother's part of the family, from the Lunas. Furthermore, we see how the kids in school used a mixed Spanish and English, especially to swear: "Ay Dios! Then, we have the holy spirit, represented by Ultima and the owl. Soon after Antonio's family moved to New Mexico, Tono and Antonio became Tony and Anthony. The fact is that he was no longer in the land of Mexico. His is also witness of the impotence of a priest to save his uncles life, when then Ultima cured him with her magic. I the same way, we find a parallelism or personification of the three people in God in his family. The Virgin Mary represented by the mother who intercedes to the father for the abolition of punishments for the sons. There is a two level explanation for this chapter: first, we have to remember that Antonio's father Gabriel was a men of the llano, a vaquero who thought that freedom is the most important thing in anyone's life. Toward a promised land: La frontera as a myth and reality in ballad and song. This is one of the most important aspects of his cultural development as well as our main point in identifying a border culture. Gabriel never gets accustomed to the life in the city. In the same way, Antonio goes to school, He does not understand English, and therefore does not understand the kids in the school. Gabriel blames the Texans, (Americans), over and over again for putting fences across his llano, across his freedom. Carl and Paula Shirley condense their presentation of Bless Me, Ultima by simply mentioning the story line of the book: She (Ultima) is present from the boy's earliest experiences growing up, family conflict, school, religion, evil and death... (Tom Miller, xii) In the same way, Anaya's description of Antonio's life represents ironies and contradictions, first in a main cultural collision of Mexican and Anglo culture, family structure and language; and then, in more deep levels of religion, and basic understanding of oneself. It is even hard to find where the changes in his behavior take place, due to Rudolfo's smooth literary transitions. Tom Miller says that: Ironies and contradictions thrive on the border between the US and Mexico, a region that does not adhere to the economic, ethical, political, or cultural standards of either country (...) It is a third country of its own, its own food, its language, its music (...) It is a colony onto itself, long and narrow, ruled by two faraway powers.