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Bless Me Ultima, Term Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 800

Term Paper

This term paper will review three worldviews which are viewed in the book titled: Bless me, Ultima. The first worldview which will be discussed is Ultima’s role in the community. The second world view which will be elaborated upon is religion. The third world view which will be explored is the role of the Chicano in Anglo American society. The aspect of the manner by which these world views are challenged and deconstructed from the Anglo American perspective will be discussed. The aspect of the dominance of one world view over the other with regards to Chicano and Anglo American perspectives will be reviewed. The works of Anaya (2012) and Andalazúa (1987) will be reviewed.

Ultima was a “curandera “(Anaya 36). This implies that she had particular knowledge of roots and herbs in order to have the ability of curing the sick (Anaya 36).  This is a valued position in Mexican and Chicano culture.  The book demonstrates this perspective by demonstrating: “and I was happy with Ultima. We walked together in the llano and along the river banks to gather herbs and roots for her medicine” (Anaya 20).

Ultima represents the struggle for the Chicano to hold onto their identity in the sociologically and economically dominant Anglo American culture.  As Ultima is holding onto ancient ways and being a “curandera” (Anaya 36), she represents the Chicano struggle to hold on to their cultural legacy. In order to show the protective nature of Ultima’s social position in the community, subsequent to the murder of Lupito, the hooting owl had been perceived after the event took place (Anaya 27). Ultima discusses the aspects of her cultural legacy by stating: “The sky sparkled with a million stars and the Virgin’s horned moon, the moon of my mother’s people, the moon of the Luna’s…” (Anaya 27). In the book, Bless me, Ultima; there is a strong association between spirits and the hooting owl. The owl was a continuing theme in the chapter which could be said to represent a natural and inherited wisdom.

The second characteristic which is viewed as a cultural worldview which is challenged by the Anglo-American establishment is the religion of the Chicano. Ultima discusses that “my mother was a devout Catholic and she saw the salvation of the soul rooted in the Holy Mother Church and she said that the world would be saved if the people turned back to the Earth (Anaya 33). This is an interesting aspect of the Chicano worldview as the religion of the Chicano is an essential part of the cultural identity. Ultima is directly correlated with this cultural identity. Many of the people of the town would gossip with regards to Ultima by stating that she had been the woman who committed no sins. Other members of the community would label her, perhaps out of envy for the high esteem which she held in the community. The label which had been placed on Ultima was “la curandera”, “hechicera” and “bruja” (Anaya 36).

In the book, Bless me, Ultima, it becomes important to observe that the Chicano culture is rooted in the North American Indian culture. The Chicanos may choose to label themselves by their language; however the blood which flows through their veins is Mestizo by heritage (Andalazúa 85). This infers that Chicano culture is 70- 80% American Indian by legacy (Andalazúa 84). This cultural identity is demonstrated as Ultima tells the story of how “the Virgin had presented herself to the little Indian boy in Mexico…” (Anaya 46).

Another nuance toward the cultural identity of the Chicano is made when Pedro asked Tony if he were” ready to pick apples” (Anaya 47). The author applies the harvesting of fruit as part of the elements which unify the Chicano people. Many of those who now designate themselves as Chicano had been unaware of their ethnic designation prior to the formation of La Raza Unida party in Texas and the emergence of Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez appeared with the fruit harvesters in the mid 1960’s demanding better employment conditions for Chicanos and as a result a cultural icon for the Chicano people had been created (Andalazúa 85).

Conclusion

The struggle for maintenance of the Chicano identity in the Anglo American culture has been ongoing for centuries. The predominant worldview as a result of the sociological and economic attributes is the Anglo American culture.  However, like the llano, the religion and the cultural icons, the Chicano culture continues to thrive. In its ability to endure, the Chicano culture demonstrates the capacity of being able to reach an equilibrium point with Anglo American culture for those whom are of Mestizo heritage.

Works Cited

Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless me, Ultimate. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1999. Print.

Andalazúa, Gloria. “How to tame a wild tongue.” In Borderlands/ La Frontera (Ed. Cherrie Moraga), DSA Presents, 2011. Web. 29 April 2014.http://dsapresents.org/staff/Michael-thornton/files/2011/08/Andaluzua-Wild-Tongue.pdf

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