Bless Me, Ultima

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Gabriel Márez Character Analysis

Antonio's father, a former vaquero (cowboy) of the llano. Gabriel prizes freedom above all else, and is often bitter against the town and his wife for taking him from the llano. He drinks whiskey, especially when dreaming of moving to California, but he is also a strong and level-headed presence in the face of danger.

Gabriel Márez Quotes in Bless Me, Ultima

The Bless Me, Ultima quotes below are all either spoken by Gabriel Márez or refer to Gabriel Márez. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Warner Books edition of Bless Me, Ultima published in 1994.
Chapter 22 (Veintidos) Quotes

"Ay, every generation, every man is a part of his past. He cannot escape it, but he may reform the old materials, make something new --"
"Take the llano and the river valley, the moon and the sea, God and the golden carp – and make something new," I said to myself. That is what Ultima meant by building strength from life. "Papá," I asked, "can a new religion be made?"

Related Characters: Antonio Juan Márez (speaker), Gabriel Márez (speaker), Ultima
Related Symbols: The Golden Carp
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:

As Gabriel drives Antonio to go stay with the Lunas, the father and son have an illuminating and important conversation. Gabriel seems worn out, and no longer has his old fierce desire to make his sons follow in his own footsteps—instead, he now recognizes that becoming a man means to "make something new." This, then, is exactly the lesson Antonio needs to hear, as he continues to struggle with inner conflicts within his own identity and the world-views of those around him.

Antonio's mental response to his father's statement then acts as a kind of thesis statement for Anaya's novel. Antonio must embrace all the seemingly disparate parts of his identity, culture, and religion, and use them to make something new and fundamentally his own. This means accepting at once Luna and Márez ("the moon and the sea"), God and the golden carp, Native American, Spanish, and English culture, curanderismo (Ultima's magic and knowledge) and Catholic priesthood, the "llano and the river valley," and using them to make a new, personal "religion"—a project arguably fulfilled in the writing of the novel itself.

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Gabriel Márez Character Timeline in Bless Me, Ultima

The timeline below shows where the character Gabriel Márez appears in Bless Me, Ultima. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 (Uno)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...Ultima. She is from Las Pasturas, the village in the llano (flatlands) where Antonio's father, Gabriel Márez, comes from. Gabriel was once a vaquero (cowboy) of the llano and enjoyed the... (full context)
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...it makes her happy, so he does it. Soon the family's truck approaches: it is Gabriel returning with Ultima. Theresa is afraid, but Deborah, who speaks only English now, reassures her.... (full context)
Chapter 2 (Dos)
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Ultima quickly assumes the family's routine, helping with the chores and listening to Gabriel's frustrated dream of moving to California with his sons and working in the vineyards. Sometimes... (full context)
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Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
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...and drinking coffee when Lupito walked up and shot him in the head. Chávez wants Gabriel to help him kill Lupito, as Chávez must avenge his brother. Gabriel tries to calm... (full context)
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...Lupito. Vigil argues that he has to deputize them first, but they shout him down. Gabriel argues against them as well, and his friend Narciso agrees – Lupito is not an... (full context)
Chapter 3 (Tres)
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It is Sunday morning, when his parents always argue, as Gabriel drinks Saturday nights and argues about religion. He curses the town that took him from... (full context)
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...man. María argues that it is a sin for a boy to grow up, but Gabriel responds all his experiences will build him up into a man. María hopes aloud that... (full context)
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...take communion if he killed a man last night. Ultima responds that she doesn't think Gabriel fired at Lupito, but also that Antonio must not presume to know what God forgives.... (full context)
Chapter 6 (Seis)
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...father disapproves. María goes on about Antonio's future as a scholar and a priest, while Gabriel reminisces about the beautiful freedom of the old llano. (full context)
Chapter 7 (Siete)
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...family is overjoyed. María starts crying again and makes them all pray one more time. Gabriel asks the boys about California, and repeats that he wants to go there with them... (full context)
Chapter 8 (Ocho)
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...the restless blood awakens in Antonio's brothers. They are almost never around, and they ignore Gabriel's talk of California. The spend all their money on alcohol and women. Their parents are... (full context)
Chapter 9 (Nueve)
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The brothers argue with their parents about leaving. Gabriel wants them to help him go to California, and María wants them to stay and... (full context)
Chapter 10 (Diez)
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...tries to learn more about the golden carp but Samuel is gone for the summer. Gabriel, meanwhile, is sad that his sons have left, and María is unhappy because her youngest... (full context)
Chapter 11 (Once)
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...golden carp. The apocalypse begins, but then Ultima appears and calms the storm. She lectures Gabriel and María that the waters of the moon and the sea are the same, and... (full context)
Chapter 12 (Doce)
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Antonio spends the summer thinking of the golden carp and Ultima's cure of Lucas. Gabriel starts drinking more and often complains about how his sons have betrayed him, and how... (full context)
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People come for supplies from Las Pasturas and they stop and reminisce with Gabriel about the old llano, before modern times and the railroad took away their freedom. They... (full context)
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...the truth. Soon men with torches and guns arrive at the house and call for Gabriel to give up Ultima. Gabriel and Antonio step outside and face the mob. Gabriel asks... (full context)
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Gabriel yanks Tenorio's beard and throws him to the ground. The other men are armed with... (full context)
Chapter 13 (Trece)
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...next day to bring the family to El Puerto, and it is the first time Gabriel goes with them to help the Lunas with the harvest. There is a rumor in... (full context)
Chapter 15 (Quince)
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...wrecked it on their way home. That night they go into town with Andrew and Gabriel gets drunk at home. The next day Gabriel is sad and reminds his sons of... (full context)
Chapter 17 (Diecisiete)
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When Antonio reports these rumors of the atomic bomb to Gabriel, he laughs and says the dust storms are just the way of the llano, and... (full context)
Chapter 20 (Veinte)
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...more time with Ultima and worries that Tenorio is still after her. Téllez, one of Gabriel's old friends, comes to visit and complains that his house is haunted by devils, and... (full context)
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...Téllez's grandfather left unburied. Brujas have awakened the spirits and made them do evil things. Gabriel formally asks Ultima and she agrees to go banish the spirits if Gabriel will accept... (full context)
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They drive out to the llano and Gabriel and Ultima share their love for the freedom and beauty of the land. They reach... (full context)
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...They light it on fire and Antonio wonders if the bundles are the Indian spirits. Gabriel says that this is the way Comanches used to bury their dead. That night Ultima's... (full context)
Chapter 22 (Veintidos)
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...he is growing up fast. María and Ultima both bless Antonio and he leaves with Gabriel. He realizes he will never see his home the same way again. (full context)
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Gabriel and Antonio talk on the drive to El Puerto. Gabriel says it is good for... (full context)
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Antonio asks Gabriel about evil, to which Gabriel responds that most evil is just things people don't understand.... (full context)