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Free Study Guide-Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya-Free Book Notes
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The war is over. It is announced at school. Antonio is happy that his three brothers would be returning home. Andrew writes and says they are meeting in San Diego and will come home together. María calls out her thanks to all her saints: the Virgen de Guadalupe, St. Anthony, San Martín, San Cristóbal. She takes the family to the sala to pray their thanks rosary after rosary. The children fall asleep and Gabriel carries them to their rooms. Antonio's "soul floated with the holiness of prayer into the sky of dreams."

In his dream, he is at a river and he hears someone calling his name. He calls out that he is beside the catfish hole where his brother taught him to fish. The voices continue to call. They call him their sweet baby and say they are coming home. They say they have traveled west until they were in the east. They call for him to give them his "saving hand." They say they are the giants who are dying. They say they have seen the land of the golden carp. Finally, Antonio sees his three brothers behind him. He screams out and wakes up.

He feels heavy sorrow in this throat. He hears the owl cry out in alarm and he knows someone is coming up the path. He looks and sees three figures approaching. It is his three brothers. He calls out to them and they race toward him. María embraces them and calls their names over and over. Gabriel gives each of them an abrazo (hug). They kneel before Ultima for a blessing. They dance around the kitchen with Deborah, Theresa, and Antonio. They drink whiskey with Gabriel while María and Ultima cook dinner. In the middle of cooking, María sits down and cries a long time. When she finishes she wants them to pray. Gabriel complains that they have prayed enough, but she insists on one more before she returns to cooking.

Gabriel wants to hear about California. Andrew answers that they were there only briefly. He asks to hear about the war, but León says only that it was all right. Gene says, "Like hell," and frowns heavily. He pulls away and sits alone. Gabriel wants to know about the California vineyards. He feels his dream of moving west revive now that his sons are home. At Gabriel's talk of moving to California the three sons look at each other nervously. Finally, they all go to bed.

Antonio feels the family is complete. He stays busy at school learning the magical letters and numbers. Miss Maestas sends a note to María telling her of Antonio's good progress. María is happy that a man of learning will once again be part of the Luna family.


While the return of the three brothers from war is an overwhelming relief, it is not a triumph. They clearly feel alienated from the family and cannot relate what has happened to them during the years of war. Without being about to tell about what has happened to them, they will never be fully united with their family. They seem to have talked together about their reluctance to fulfill Gabriel's dream of moving to California. Gabriel and María seem oblivious to their sons' discomfort and alienation. Perhaps they see what they can handle seeing. Antonio, on the other hand, seems to recognize that the three brothers are still lost. His dream leaves him feeling deep sorrow even though it means his brothers are returning home.

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