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"Explain the myth of the Golden Carp and explore its significance in Antonio' spiritual coming of age in Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima"
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Antonio feels difficulty to lead a life in between the conflicts of his father’s and mother families, namely, the Marez and the Juans. These conflicts, along with his mother persuasion to make him a Catholic priest and his father’s wish to join him with the Marez, wild and untamed vaqueros, also poses several questions in Antonio’s mind and seeks answers to all these questions with the help of Ultima, the Curandera—the traditional folk healer. An overview of the novel clearly brings out the role of myth which predominates from the beginning to the end. The purpose of the study is to unveil the significance of the myth of golden carp on Antonio and explore its significance in Antonios spiritual coming of age.
Among the different myths used in the novel, one can see that the myth of the golden carp plays a decisive role in determining or guiding the story. “The myth of the golden carp is certainly the most significant myth used in the novel, particularly because it helps to elucidate Antonio’s increasing anxiety and eventual acceptance of the differing religious beliefs that he encounters” (Bless Me, Ultima Study Guide). The role of the minor myths on the novel also is not negligible as they help the readers to have glimpse of Mexican –American culture. When tracing the origin of the myths, it leads us to Aztec Mythology of Mexican-American culture which supported polytheism. Antonio had to meet many different kinds of myth all through the novel and each had a dominant influence in his character formation. The myth of the golden carp brings new perspectives to Antonio when he identifies it as different from Catholicism. The myth of golden carp was takes substance from the Aztec legend according to which, “there were four ages of the world or “suns” before the present world, each of which was destroyed by an individual
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Despite being surrounded by loving family and friends, Antonio is highly confused because the religious beliefs that are projected through the priest and her mother are belied by the actions of other characters. Ultima, who is a spiritual healer, becomes the major guiding force for Antonio because she represents a more tolerant agent of religion.
He got lost in thoughts about life, death and fate. He could not find answers to his questions from his religious beliefs. As the story proceeds, Antonio learns that there are limitations to Catholicism or any one particular religion. He was learning to think by himself and draw conclusions from his own mind.
After all, man has reached the depths of the seas, and explored the heavens. So why can’t he find himself/herself? In between the two, he has even created connections. The moon is known to determine the mood of the sea. All these travels far and wide have vastly improved our knowledge of our planet.
Poem 1: Hope Never Ends Restless nights went by As I stared up at the black sky. I lay down in the open grass My only home, alas! Bodies walked past Some slow, some fast. No one paid attention To any of my tension. It was only winter nights And agonizing plights.
In fact the history of design started in the 1960's in America. This country didn't suffer the postwar devastation and by the 50's it had established itself as the world leader in economic and political power. US also helped the surrendered countries. "Between 1945 and 1958 world manufactures increased by 60 per cent, while between 1958 and 1968 the figure rose to 100 per cent.
For example, when he first meets Ultima, a folk healer and midwife, he calls her by name rather than as “Le Grande” as the others did. Ultima insists that the boy does not mean any disrespect, and thereby indicates that
The portrayal of Antonio is rather from the inside – since he is a passive spectator who happens to be deeply introspective. The fact that Anaya had a swimming accident which left him partly paralyzed when he was seventeen years old had led him to pertinent philosophical questions regarding life.
Antonio, the main protagonist of the book, is only six when the narrative starts. It can be said that it is more of an account of his past, with him looking back to when he was 6, and the events that happened then. However, as the title suggests, the book is more of an account of how Ultima, the curandera, influenced Antonio’s thinking.
his novel can be viewed from many angles as well as layers, as it intertwines issues or themes of psychological maturation, social changes, identity crisis and importantly cultural conflict, all into coherent and interesting story of a young boy and his guide. Antonio Márez y
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