Bless Me, Ultima

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Bless Me, Ultima Chapter 16 (Dieciseis) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Antonio returns to school after Christmas vacation ends, but he feels he has changed and loses touch with his friends. He is troubled by how unfair it was that Narciso should die and Tenorio should live. Antonio starts praying after school for answers, and he prays to the Virgin more and more often. He hopes to meet the Virgin of Guadalupe just like the man Diego did so long ago.
Antonio can now truly appreciate the unfairness of both the town's Catholic society and the seeming injustice of God's punishments. Even as he grows more dissatisfied with Catholicism he starts praying more to the Virgin, showing that, for Antonio, Mary is something separate from the Church.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Knowledge Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
One day on the way home from school Antonio sees Tenorio under the juniper tree where he killed Narciso. Tenorio sees Antonio and curses at him, and again he vows to kill Ultima. He says his second daughter is dying now.
In the novel, juniper trees are associated with the people of the llano and ancient supernatural powers, particularly Ultima's. Tenorio brings back the ominous tone.
Themes
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
When Antonio gets home and tells Ultima what happened, she makes sure Tenorio didn't hurt Antonio in any way but assures him that she is not afraid of Tenorio's threats. Antonio still worries about her safety and checks on her at night. They grow closer than ever.
Ultima demonstrates more quiet strength and courage, which Antonio begins to see is more important than empty words or shallow beliefs.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon