February 05, 2013
We’ve all read books in school.
Everything from Clifford the Big Red Dog to Moby Dick has been included on required reading lists. I remember reading Number the Stars in 4th grade, The Grapes of Wrath in 10th, and every one of Shakespeare’s comedies in my sophomore Brit Lit class at CMSU. But, just because I remember picking them up, doesn’t mean I remember the stories themselves. Truthfully, when I think of The Grapes of Wrath, the Veggie Tales song by the same title pops into my head. You know, "We are the grapes of wrath; we never take a bath." That said, some books have stuck with me and one of those is Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya.
I read Bless Me Ultima in my senior year of college for a multi-cultural lit class, and I’ve never forgotten it. Now, it’s being made into a movie, which probably would have helped me in class, but it stuck anyway. Anaya takes us into Guadalupe, New Mexico during and after World War II. There, Ultima, a curandera or healer, comes to live with Antonio and his family. Antonio is a serious and thoughtful six year old who has a difficult time reconciling his mother’s Catholic beliefs with that of Ultima’s pagan ones. With Ultima’s help, he learns that he must make his own decisions and accept responsibility for those choices.
Colbern Road Branch