Bless Me Ultima

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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Throughout "Bless Me, Ultima" there are numerous allusions to Antonio being, or becoming Christ. Such as in one of his dreams from the first half of the book, "It is neither! I shouted. I swung the dark robe of the priest over my shoulders then lifted my hands in the air. The mist swirled around me and sparks flew when I spoke. It is the presence of the river. Save us, my brothers cried and cowered at my words. I spoke to the presence of the river and it allowed my brothers to cross with their carpenter tools to build our castle on the hill." (Pg. 26) This symbolism of Antonio allowing his brothers to cross the river with their carpenter tools suggests that Antonio is not just a priest in his dream but Christ. Talking with the river to save the ones he loves who are carpenters.

With Antonio symbolizing Christ, there needs to be someone to offset him, someone such as the Devil. One such character is Ernie. Ernie, for no reason known to Antonio, dislikes him very much. "He has a witch to help him. " Ernie sneered". Ernie was still after me. I still didn't know why." The Devil does not like God or Christ because they over powered him. They were full of goodness, and the Devil could not understand this. Between Ernie and Antonio, there is a similar story. Ernie is not a "good" Christian like Antonio. Ernie picks fights just to fight, and once Antonio stood up to him and showed Ernie his power. "Then Ernie's arms snapped out and the football he was holding hit me full on my face. I instinctively struck out and felt my fist land on his chin." (Pg. 146) After this act of defiance against Ernie, Antonio stating that he would not be drug down by Ernie's bad ways, everyone had more respect for him, even Ernie. " No one teased me about Ultima after that. If I had been able to take on Ernie I guess they figured that I would fight anybody." (Pg. 147) This passage puts Antonio in a light as being able to defeat Ernie, or Christ defeating the Devil.

Other images of Ernie in the book give him an evil aura about him. Such as "You calling me a liar!" Ernie shouted in my face. His saliva was hot and bitter. Someone said he only drank goat's mil because he was allergic to cow's milk." Here Ernie is being displayed as an ugly figure. His breath is hot and bitter, likening him to the Devil. And stating that Ernie drank goat's milk and being allergic to cow's milk puts him aside from Antonio. Goats have been associated with Satanism for centuries, Christians giving them as offerings to save a soul from hell and other ritualistic ceremonies. Therefore this passage is alluding that Ernie is allergic to Christianity, or God. Cows have been symbolized as holly creatures throughout time, as Goats have been symbolized as Satanic. Thus, putting Ernie in the chair of Satanism and Antonio in the chair of Christianity.

Ernie's character is a bad character, liking to start fights for little reasons, hating Antonio for no apparent reason, and he is related closely to Satanism and the Devil numerous times. Ernie may be a small character in the book, but he plays out the other pole of Antonio. Where there is good, there must also be evil.