Is Ultima a witch or not?
The Salem witch trails proved to be a testament to mankind's capacity for
superstition. Women who differed from the bourgeoisie standards for a typical
woman were persecuted and sentenced to death-- eternal outcasts of society.
Similarly, in Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, Ultima is accused of witchcraft due to her possession of healing powers. One could state that anyone who possesses such a power should be characterized as a witch; however, in Ultima's case, she uses this power for good. Ultima is not a sorceress simply because she has not mastered the powers of witchcraft but rather the secrets of healing.
Although Ultima possesses special powers, she uses her magic for good. For example, when Antonio comes home devastated from witnessing Lupito's death, Ultima gathers her strength to lift [Antonio] in her arms and carry [him] into her room with a new potion, she [washes] the cuts on [his] face and feet (25). Ultima does not blame Antonio for slipping out of the house to view the encounter the community had with Lupito. Instead, she calms Antonio with her soothing voice, and uses her knowledge of herbs to heal his wounds of Antonio. Many might mistake her abilities as evil, further demonstrating her pact with the devil, however, Ultima's action clearly has good intentions due to the fact that it cured Antonio; this can be characterized as a display of affection--something that a witch is incapable of. Ultima also uses her magic to heal Lucas, bringing him back to life. Witches usually are in favor of death, and worship of the devil, but Ultima releases Lucas from the clutches of the evil Trementina sisters, overcoming their wickedness with the power of love. She teaches Antonio that the "smallest bit of good and generosity can stand against all the powers of evil in the world and [emerging] triumphant (98). Ultima tries to comfort Antonio by highligh