Blood becomes the river. The human race dies and only the she-goats and the he-goats (109) remain. The lake cracked with laughter of madness and the ghosts stood and walked upon the shore.(109) Who dares dream such gruesome images? Antonio Marez. He questions God, he communicates with the dead, the dead ask him for blessings. Just who is this Tony? Tony is only a seven year boy who lives in small town of El Puerto. But he is no ordinary boy, he is the hero of Rudolfo Anayas Bless Me Ultima. The novel guides you through Tonys life. From childhood to adulthood. It tells you about the experiences Tony has in life. The difficult tasks he has to overcome. Tony being only seven years old has to go through a lot.
Tony begins his story in the beginning. He does not mean the beginning of his dreams from which he learned the story of his birth and the people whom his father and mother belong to, and the story of his three brothers. He means the beginning of Ultima. Ultima is one of the most important people in Tonys life. She is not only a curandera (healer) she is also Tonys teacher. She guides him through his journey. A journey in which he has to find out what his destiny is.
Ultima means the end for Tony Ultima is the unification between the beginning and the end. Time almost sees her as a sort of deity. Tony learns from her the names of plants, the herbs, the flowers, bushes and his appreciation for nature grows. Tony learns about the beauty in the time of day and night.(10) He also learns about the peace in the river and hills. Ultima teaches Tony to listen to the mystery of the groaning earth and to feel complete in the fulfillment of its time. (26) he feels his soul grow under Ultima guidance. One of Tonys obstacles in life is to become a man.
His mother does not want him to become a man but his father argues saying everything Tony sees and does makes him a man(37) but Maria says that it is a sin for a boy to grow to be a man by saying that life destroys the pureness God gives. (36) but this is not the only diction Tony has to make. His first dream portrays his insecurity about his identity. He has to choose between the two is he a fine vaquero or a farmer-priest(9) He is confused, on one side its his mother and on the other its his father. Who should he become? He is also confused about which God to believe in. the golden Carp, who he marvels at the bright golden-pagan God(114) on the other side the catholic God who could not forgive(120) He does not understand why God cannot forgive Narcisio who is a good man while the Virgin Mary can forgive the evil Teronio.
Tony is confused throughout most of the novel. Tony believes that the women always forgive, therefore in his childs logic he thinks women in general do not judge but always forgive. He has a lot of decisions to make. He remembers his dream where he sees Andrew at Rosies and remembers what Andrew had told him in his dream that Andrew will wait and not enter until (Tony) looses (his) innocence.(85) Tonys belief that innocence is forever(45) is shattered when his mother tells him that you are innocent when you do not know. (72) Tony does not want to gain understanding if it means to loose his dreams.
Tonys father tells him that a person gains understanding through living life and that in the end understanding simply means having a sympathy for people.(119) He always seems to be confused figuring out weather or not he lost his innocence. The answers to his questions he has to find. Tony learns from Ultima to love the magic of the wide, free earth (105) from his mother he learns that people are made of earth and are part of the ground that nourishes them. From his father he learns that the greater immortality is in the freedom of humanity (87) and that freedom is best nourished by the noble expanse of land and air and pure, white sky. (86)
Tony somewhat resembles the innocence of Jem and Scout from the book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Both these novels deal with a persons development. For Tony it was understanding what his destiny would be and for Jem and Scout it was, why people act the way they do and not to judge someone by their appearance but until you have stepped in their shoes.
Tony simply has three characteristics that are clearly displayed in the novel. He is brave, precocious and often at times confused. Tony is very unique. He does not think the way normal seven year olds would think. He thinks on a spiritual level. Most of his thoughts reflect high mental development. Even his dreams are witnesses to his spirituality.