34, 28, 4, 65, 1, 79, 52; taking a chance on numbers such as these can change a person’s life forever. The winner of the insurmountable cash prize is not determined by how poverty stricken or destitute one may appear, but simply, luck of the draw. No one can predict the outcome of the lottery of life; however, as a species, humans need that faith in the possibility to keep us grounded and sane. In times of such desperation, certain extremities can be taken to attain stability. Dependence on seemingly unlikely orthodoxies gives us hope in times of loss or confusion.
Whether it be numbered tickets, science, history, or religion, humans are made to have a purpose are designed to overcome the obstacles thrusted upon them and to seek a resolution to their own life’s predicaments. In Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, Bless Me, Ultima, six-year old Antonio Marez contemplates the different beliefs and religions presented to him. His perception of religion is affected by certain figures in his life that cause him to stray from his family’s traditional spiritual path and search for his own truths in the world.
At an early age, Tony grew up with the influences of Catholicism which forced him into a traditional way of thinking. Towards the beginning of the novel, Tony exhibits a desperate search for truth. (ADD CONTEXT) While Tony’s mother professes her dreams of him becoming a priest, he asks her “Who will hear my confessions? ” (9). One of the duties of a priest is to hear and give penance to a person confessing their sins. A priest is meant to be a model citizen of the church and to give guidance to God’s children.
With the knowledge of the priest’s many obligations, the pressure from his mother envelops Tony’s mind. He feels as though he is unfit to embark on the path to uphold the sin-free life of a priest because he believes that having these doubts about God’s validity is a sin. The major turning point of the novel is when Tony first receives the holy communion as Tony will question God’s true intentions and even existence. The moment Tony places the eucharist in his mouth, a feeling of almost nothingness washes over him and he struggles to find the answers to his burning questions (221).
Tony feels as though the God he came to know is non’t really there, or if He is there, He’s just not listening. In addition to God, Tony finds comfort in the Virgen Mary. Tony’s mother imparted her worship of The Virgen to him at an early age. Because of this, Tony finds some guidance in Her because of Her maternal and patient manner. Tony does seem to favor The Virgen over God as he finds that “only women really [knows] how to forgive” (137). These thoughts of betrayal towards The Lord do worry Tony yet, this initial rebellion of God begins Tony’s journey to find himself and his own true beliefs.
As the story progressed, the introduction of seemingly magical and supernatural beings began to alter the beliefs that Tony had grown accustomed to. As Tony witnesses Ultima work near impossible miracles, he cannot seem to understand how any one person can surpass God’s power. While helping Ultima cure his sick Uncle, Tony is baffled by Ultima’s healing abilities. He ponders how “the magic of Ultima [cwould] be stronger than all the powers of the saints and the Holy Mother Church? ” (97). Tony feels a deeper and even spiritual connection to his uncle while Ultima is curing him.
Although this is not addressed in the novel, this could be Ultima’s or even the spirits attempting to guide Tony in the directions of possibly becoming a curandera. In addition to Ultima, the sheer existence of the golden carp deters Tony from his originally chosen path. After hearing the story of the golden carp, he gets caught in the magic of such an ostensibly perfect immortal figure. Tony’s simple idea of “a god who [could]… [forgive]” (137) and guide him further exacerbates his inner conflict. It i’s very easy for a child as young as Tony to be empted by the immaculate identities of such characters.
Tony’s desperate cries for a role model with whom he wishes to emulate are now being directed at anybody willing to help him untangle his indoctrinated values from the mysterious and new beliefs he stumbles across. As well as the positive influences of God and The Virgen, Tony encounters those of whom he considers to be immoral and sinful towards God. Tony is faced with the mundane yet perceptive questions of his friend, Florence; those of which present an entirely new belief system of what can be described as atheism.
Florence believes “God has sinned against [him] because He took [his] father and mother from [him] when [he] most needed them, and He made [his] sisters whores. He has punished all of [them] without just cause,” (213). While preparing for Communion, Florence expresses anger he feels towards God and he reveals the pain he believes God has caused him. Although Tony does not understand what Florence is going through, it still baffles him as to why God would put a child in such a position. In addition to Florence’s astute perspective of God, Tony sees the disobedience and disrespect towards Catholicism by his friend, Horse.
As Tony and the rest of the gang attend catechism, Horse is continually known as the troublemaker. When Horse confesses his sins of catching a glimpse a neighbor de-robing, Tony is astonished as to how a God couldn’t let Horse go unpunished for betraying the Bible’s word. Ultimately, Tony is influenced by the ways and behaviors of his brothers, Andrew, Eugene, and Leon. From Andrew’s affairs with the prostitution house to Eugene and Leon’s escape from home, Tony is bombarded by negative influences.
On top of his brothers’ wild behavior, Tony is as (unfinished :)) Throughout the novel, we see Tony’s pain and the struggle he faces towards correctly choosing his ultimate destiny. As Tony is confronted with the wishes and opinions of his family, friends, and immortal beings, and we hardly see Tony relaying his own goals for the future. The paths that have been laid out for Tony can be overwhelming to a boy as young as him. It i’s an endless balancing act between seeking out life’s veracities and pleasing those around us. However, if taking a chance on something that may disrupt that balance is worthwhile, then Tony may end up a billionaire.