Plot and Conflict

Bless Me, Ultima

Plot Summary

The story revolves around a young six year old boy, Antonio, who lives in the llano of New Mexico during World War II. Like most average 6 year olds, Antonio becomes open to other cultures and goes on a journey to find his own path in life. Antonio's self discovery phase really ignites when Ultima, a wise healer, settles in with his family and shows him the power of the spiritual world. Their relationship grows and Antonio's curiosity strengthens, leading him to question everything he once believed in. He begins to doubt the Catholic doctrine his parents taught him, the relationship between good and evil, and the way world works. Through a series of mysterious and sometimes dark events, Antonio must break through his family ties that hold him back, and discover himself by answering questions to his destiny.


  • Antonio is at that psychological stage where he questions initiative verses guilt, and industry versus inferiority. As he grows more mature and develops a conscience, Antonio often wonders, "Will I be made to feel guilty for trying new things?" and "How do I compare with my friends at school and my peers?" (Only six years old and he is already questioning life? Yeah, this kid's going places). His questions grow stronger and more in depth as he encounters new cultures and new ideas of religion, such as Samuel and his culture involving the golden carp, and Ultima's supernatural practices and beliefs. The perfect image of God that Antonio created has been stretched and re-defined ashe comes across new experiences, both bad and good.
  • And on top of that, Antonio faces the pressure from his family. Antonio's mother and father come from two polar opposite families, the Marez and the Luna, and like their different families, they each have varying expectations for Antonio. His mother wants him to be a priest, and his father wishes for him to continue the vaquero tradition.
  • Antonio constantly strives to meet the expectations that are set for him by the community, by his family, and by his religion. But with his society's colliding cultures, Antonio is often confused and struggles to make his own moral decisions.
  • In summary, Antonio is facing a combination of external and internal conflicts throughout the novel. External being that he is influenced by the diverse cultures and ideas offered to him, and internally because his identity blinds him from seeing his true path, his own path.

It's Story Time!

page 120

This is an excerpt from the novel, which illustrates Antonio's mother and father arguing over Antonio's destiny in one of Antonio's dreams. Click the audio file and follow along while I read to you, children.