Bless Me Ultima Allegory Symbols and Magical Realism
Bless Me Ultima Allegory, Symbols and Magical Realism
Magical Realism – Four Major Characteristics 1. Hybridity – the blending of opposites: Western versus indigenous traditions and beliefs, urban versus rural, masculine versus feminine, etc. The stories usually involve the erosion of borders, change, and a blending of disparate elements. Magical Realism is meant to illuminate a truer, deeper reality than a traditional narrative would yield
Magical Realism – Four Major Characteristics 2. Irony of Author’s Perspective – In telling the tale, the author must maintain an ironic distance in the portrayal of the magical elements in order not to compromise the realism. At the same time he must respect the magical elements or they will split away from the realism rather than blend with it.
Magical Realism – Four Major Characteristics 3. Authorial Reticence – The author does not express an opinion about the accuracy of the magical or supernatural events the narrative depicts; nor does the author make any effort to explain them, this potentially compromising them in the eyes of the reader.
Magical Realism – Four Major Characteristics 4. Supernatural and Natural – the supernatural and the natural are portrayed as coexisting, fully integrated into the world depicted in the narrative.
Allegory, Symbol and Metaphor Bless Me Ultima is rich in its use of allegories, symbols, and metaphors, frequently accessing both Catholic and pagan/folkloric images and tales. Antonio perceives these beliefs as irreconcilable, but Anaya frequently draws parallels between the two.
The Tale of the Golden Carp In the tale of the Golden Carp a sin is purified by a great flood. This consciously echoes The Old Testament and the story of Noah and the Ark. Underlines theme of cultural intetgration. (central to Antonio’s maturation)
The Golden Carp - Symbol Both a Christian symbol and a traditional pagan icon for fertility and the goodness of the earth and nature. Anaya treats each tradition as equally sacred, rather than preferring one to the other.
The Owl Mostly pagan association Traditionally represents wisdom Native American myth also sees the owl as a protector, a summoning spirit, or as the reincarnation of the virtuous. Other pagan beliefs connect the owl to witchcraft, or perceive these nocturnal birds as harbingers of death.
The Owl and Ultima Owl = Ultima’s spirit The various interpretations of the owl reflect the villagers’ conflicting view of Ultima herself.
Other Animal Imagery Aside from their individual meanings, these symbols create a thematic thread that speaks to the relationship between humans and the natural world Horse – The horse Antonio’s father gives up represents the life of the vaquero, which he has abandoned with regret. Black Carp – representation of evil Hawks – symbolize death Coyotes – represent malevolence
Other symbols of the natural world Narcisco’s “drunken” garden is lush with a bounty of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Speaks of the connection between man and the earth
The Natural World – cont. The following work in concert with the other symbols to draw a vivid picture of Antonio’s world while each teaches a lesson about how ot live in that world. Ultima’s roots and herbs that she gathers from the hills of the Illano have healing and mystical powers. The river has a “presence” that speaks to Antonio of myth, life, danger and sacrifice.
Antonio’s dreams Chart his journey from innocence to knowledge, and ultimately acceptance. Dreams haunt and disturb him, while guiding him on his path.