Study Help Essay Questions

1. Identify the three major turning points in Antonio's life. Why are they turning points, and how is he changed from those points forward?

2. Cultural conflict is evident throughout most of the novel. Identify the different manifestations of cultural conflict and how they impinge on Antonio's life.

3. In what sense is Bless Me, Ultima a romance novel?

4. What is the function of la llorona in the novel?

5. What are some of the features of the Chicano/a family that are presented in the novel?

6. What is paganism? Who are non-pagans, and what are the boundaries between pagans and non-pagans? Is Ultima a pagan or a non-pagan?

7. What culturally specific rituals can be found in the novel regarding the dead?

8. What are the views of Ultima and Gabriel regarding the relationship between humans and nature? How does Maria view this relationship?

9. Why is Antonio so concerned about the loss of his innocence? What does losing one's innocence mean in literature? In life?

10. Which are Antonio's three prophetic dreams? What do they predict?

11. Examine the impact of a free market economy on the agro-pastoral lifestyle of New Mexicans between 1870 and 1940. What are the cultural adaptations that they made in order to survive within the United States?

12. There is a rich literature on la llorona. Using that literature, describe the function of the myth within Chicano culture.

13. Gender relations among Chicano/as are generally patriarchal. How does Ultima's character fit within such relations?

14. Examine the history of land grants among Chicano/as. What are the land ethics and land-use patterns among this population segment?

15. Examine the socio-economic status of Chicano/as within the United States. What are the primary determinants of their social status?

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