Bless Me, Ultima

Ultima's Owl Symbol Analysis

Ultima's Owl Symbol Icon
Ultima has an owl that follows her everywhere and becomes a symbol of her mysterious power. At first Antonio is afraid of it, but soon he regards the owl as a comforting, watchful presence. The bird calls out warnings when danger approaches and rips out Tenorio's eye when he threatens Ultima. By the novel's end it is revealed that the owl is magically linked with Ultima's soul, and when it dies, she dies. Its powers remain mysterious to the end, like the supernatural myths of the indigenous peoples.

Ultima's Owl Quotes in Bless Me, Ultima

The Bless Me, Ultima quotes below all refer to the symbol of Ultima's Owl. 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

The thundering report of the rifle followed the flash of fire. That shot destroyed the quiet, moonlit peace of the hill, and it shattered my childhood into a thousand fragments that long ago stopped falling and are now dusty relics gathered in distant memories.

Related Characters: Antonio Juan Márez (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ultima's Owl
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ultima's Owl Symbol Timeline in Bless Me, Ultima

The timeline below shows where the symbol Ultima's Owl appears in Bless Me, Ultima. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 (Uno)
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
Ultima enters the house and Antonio smells the fragrance of many herbs surrounding her. An owl arrives that night and starts to hang around near the house. At first Antonio fears... (full context)
Chapter 2 (Dos)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
One night the owl cries a warning and Chávez, Jasón's father, enters the family's house. He rambles wildly, and... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Knowledge Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...He starts to cry, but is soon comforted when he hears the song of Ultima's owl. He thinks about his family, and the town, and river now stained with blood. This... (full context)
Chapter 5 (Cinco)
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...about the brujas dancing with the devil across the river, but then he hears Ultima's owl and thinks of the Virgin and feels comforted. (full context)
Chapter 6 (Seis)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Antonio starts walking and is comforted by the daytime singing of Ultima's owl. As he crosses the bridge the Vitamin Kid challenges him to race and beats him... (full context)
Chapter 10 (Diez)
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
Coyotes howl outside the house but than Ultima's owl appears and attacks them. Antonio slips into a... (full context)
Chapter 12 (Doce)
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...to the family's house, yelling that Ultima must hide. He rambles about Tenorio, and the owl gives a cry of warning from outside. Narciso says Tenorio's daughter died that day, and... (full context)
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...Ultima is a witch. Ultima appears and Tenorio accuses her to her face. Suddenly the owl swoops down and tears out one of Tenorio's eyes, and when everyone looks again Ultima... (full context)
Chapter 20 (Veinte)
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...says that this is the way Comanches used to bury their dead. That night Ultima's owl sings and cheers them up. Ultima says maybe she would like to be buried this... (full context)
Chapter 22 (Veintidos)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...He vows to avenge his daughters, and says he has discovered Ultima's secret – the owl is Ultima's spirit, so it is the owl he must kill. Antonio hears this and... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...a few miles it gets dark and he is exhausted. He thinks more about the owl, and remembers how it had protected and watched over them. (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...Tenorio appears with a rifle. He points the gun at Antonio, but Ultima commands the owl to attack him and Tenorio shoots it. The gunshot seems to shatter Antonio's childhood. (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Antonio sees the owl is dead and looks frantically for Ultima. The others don't understand what the owl means,... (full context)
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Knowledge Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...live, but she accepts her fate. She tells how the flying man gave her the owl as her spirit. She has done good in the world, but also meddled with destiny... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Knowledge Theme Icon
Christianity vs. the Supernatural Theme Icon
...there in the hills when he is in despair. Antonio runs out and buries the owl beneath a juniper, crying. (full context)