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Free Study Guide-Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya-Free Book Notes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The present setting of the novel is Guadalupe, New Mexico. Two surrounding villages that have a strong influence on the people of Guadalupe are Las Pasturas, New Mexico, the land of the llano where the vaqueros or llaneros (cowboys) used to run their livestock and El Puerto de los Lunas, New Mexico, a village ten miles away from Guadalupe in the valley. It is the farm land of the Lunas.

It is set during the time of World War II and after.

In a deeper sense, the novelís setting is in its cultural history. The land and the people are marked by the history of place. The spirit and lore of Native Americans, specifically Comanches, is present in the place and the people. They were displaced by the Spanish conquistadores who brought two kinds of people: the vaqueros (cowboys) of the llano (prairie) and the priests and farmers of the land. The traces of Mexican past are also in the land. New Mexico belonged to Mexico before it was taken by the U.S. in the Mexican War of 1855. The ancient religion of the Aztecs also persists in the customs of the people who presently inhabit New Mexico.

CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Antonio Juan Márez y Luna (Anthony, Tony, Tonio)

The boy who is the subject of the story and man who is the present-day narrator.

Ultima

La Grande, a curandera; Antonio's mentor in curandismo.

María Luna

Antonio's mother, a devout Catholic from a farming family descended from a priest.

Gabriel Márez

Antonio's father, a llanero who has moved to the town to satisfy his wife.

Minor Characters

Deborah

Antonio's sister.


Theresa

Antonio's sister. Her mother says she has too much Márez in her when she speaks only English.

Benito Campos

Marez's vaquero friend to whom he gives his horse when he leaves the llano.

Bonney

A vaquero friend of Márez.

The Gonzales brothers

Vaquero friends of Márez.

Eugene Márez

The youngest of Antonio's older brothers.

Father Byrnes

The Catholic priest in Guadalupe.

Jasón

Antonio's friend.

Jasón's Indian

An old man who lives in a cave near the Indian burial grounds on the river.

Chávez

A man whose brother is killed by Lupito.

Lupito

A man who kills the sheriff of Guadalupe. He has just come home from war.

Vigil

A state policeman who patrols Guadalupe.

León

Antonio's eldest brother.

Andrew

Antonio's second eldest brother. Antonio is closest to Andrew, but finally rejects him when he sees Andrew betray his responsibility to Narciso so he can stay at a house of prostitution.

Rosie

A woman who owns a brothel in Guadalupe.

Father Luna

The first priest of El Puerto de los Lunas, an ancestor of the Lunas. He led the first colonizing party to New Mexico and founded the town.

Ernie

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe.

Abel

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys.

Horse

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys. He has the characteristics of a horse.

Bones

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is one of the Los Jaros boys.

Samuel

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe.

The Vitamin Kid

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is a boy who runs all the time.

Florence

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. A tall and thin boy with blond hair. He is one of the Los Jaros boys. He is an orphan and he is an atheist. He dies from drowning at the end of the novel.

Lloyd

A friend of Antonio from the town of Guadalupe. He is very legalistic when it comes to Roman Catholicism.

Juan Luna

María Luna's brother.

Pedro Luna

María Luna's brother and Antonio's favorite uncle. He kills Tenorio at the end of the novel.

Prudencio Luna

María Luna's father.

Miss Maestas

Antonio's first grade teacher.

George and Willy

Two boys with whom Antonio shares lunch at school when he is laughed at by the other children for eating Mexican-American food instead of a sandwich.

Cico

The boy who shows Antonio the golden carp.

Lucas Luna

María Luna's brother who is cursed by a bruja and who Ultima saves with Antonio's help.

The flying man from Las Pasturas

Ultima's mentor in curandismo who gave her the owl.

The Trementina sisters

The daughters of Tenorio, the brujas who lay the curse on Lucas. Two of them die by the end of the novel.

Tenorio Trementina

Tather of brujas, saloon owner, and barber. He kills Ultimaís owl at the end of the novel, effectively killing her.

Manuelito

A sheep herder who warns Lucas Luna not to go near the grove of witches.

Pablo Luna

One of the brothers Luna.

Red

One of the gang of boys in Guadalupe, a Protestant.

Jesús Silva

Man from El Puerto who warns Ultima of Tenorio's witch hunt.

Blas Montaño, Manuelito and Cruz Sedillo

Men on the lynching party to kill Ultima.

Mateo Luna

The storyteller of the Luna family.

Porfirio Baca

A townsperson of El Puerto.

Aunt Oretea

The deaf and dumb wife of uncle Mateo Luna.

Maxie

A boy in the school play.

Miss Violet

Antonio's third grade teacher.

Rita, Agnes, Lydia, Ida and June

Girls in Antonio's school.

Tellez

A man who lives on the Agua Negra ranch and comes to ask Ultimaís help when a curse is laid on it.

Dorotea Tellez

Married to Tellez, and suffers with him through the haunting of their house on the Agua Negra ranch.

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