Throughout life many people encounter a quest or something they think is a quest.” The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge.”(Thomas C.Foster) Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya is the story of Antonio Marez and begins when he is just six years old. In the opening of the novel, Ultima joins the family. Antonio’s quest is the coming of his age and as he endures this quest, Ultima, guides him through his tough and inquisitive times. Ultima helps Tony on his quest, understanding him, teaching him, guiding him, and giving him the courage to face his own ordeals.
Tony faces growing up under his mother, a Luna, and his father, a Marez. The Luna heritage is one of farming and priesthood, and Tony’s mother dreams of Antonio some day being a priest since there has not been one I nth e family for some time. His father’s family was vaqueros who traveled upon the Llano and did not like to settle down. Tony’s father dreams of Antonio joining him in heading west into California. Tony is torn between these two forces guiding him. Tony begins to question religion, his life, and his heritage.
Tony is innocent to the ways of the world; however, this quickly changes when he witnesses the killing of Lupito. Through the course of the novel, Tony undergoes many trials that move him from the state of innocence into the state of knowledge and experience. With his new knowledge of the world, Tony wishes to comprehend why the evil that he witnesses happen, and he yearns for understanding. He hopes that with his first Communion he will gain the knowledge of God; however, he is disappointed. “A thousand questions pushed through my mind, but the voice within me did not answer. There was only silence. The mass was ending; the fleeting mystery was already vanishing.” (221)
When Tony goes to school, he is confronted with a new culture. Although Tony’s mother encourages him to be respectful towards his teachers become a “man of learning”. Tony does not find a mutual respect for...