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MonkeyNotes-Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
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STUDY QUESTIONS / ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS

  1. What are some of the major syncretic moments in the novel?

  2. How does Anaya represent the Roman Catholic Church in this novel? Does it come across as a life-giving or life-denying institution?

  3. Why does Anaya persistently carnivalize the ceremonies of the church with the boys of Los Jaros? What function does it serve to bring down the seriousness of sacred rites with the laughter of the body?

  4. What is the role of women in the novel?

  5. What are some of the forms of earth worship in the novel?



  6. Examine the history of the region. Name the different histories represented in the novel and determine how the novel shows that the past is still present.

  7. Trace the conflict between Ultima and Tenorio.

  8. What evidence is there that Ultima is more complex than the simple equation good/evil that Tenorioís posse wants to use for her?

  9. What is the story of the golden carp? How is it connected to the Presence of the River?

  10. Antonio thinks in the end that the golden carp is not a judgmental god. However, earlier in he novel, Samuel mentioned that the golden carp had promised to flood the town if the people didnít stop sinning. How do you reconcile this contradiction?

  11. At the first of the novel, the Virgin Mary is featured prominently. However, she is not so important to the resolution of Antonioís beliefs. Trace the images of the Virgin Mary and account for this falling off.

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