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Bless Me, Ultima

             The book, "Bless me, Ultima", by Rudolfo Anaya, has been described as part of the magical realism genre in literature. In magical realism, the writer confronts reality, and tries to untangle it, to discover what is mysterious in things, in life, and human acts. The principle idea is not the creation of imaginary beings or worlds, but rather, the discovery of the mysterious relationship between a person and his circumstances. Thus, key events have no logical or psychological explanation. In "Bless me, Ultima", we can find evidences that support this definition, for example, Ultima's magical powers as a curandera, her ability to manipulate the forces of good and evil through the casting of spells and the lifting of curses, and Antonio's dreams that enable him to see the past and predict future events. All of the above invite the reader, to believe in the supernatural. This literary style helps Anaya to communicate with his readers, and convey to them through it, one of the major ideas: Antonio's development of moral independence, and the influence of cultural beliefs on his identity. Through his encounter with Ultima's magic, Antonio learns to sympathize with people who believe differently, open his mind to see life from shifting perspectives, and live in harmony with himself and others. We perceive how magical realism illuminates his struggle between a belief in the monotheistic God, and beliefs in the pagan gods.
             In Antonio's first encounter with Ultima, we learn how magical realism manifests itself through her extraordinary powers, in particularly, her ability to receive and communicate profound knowledge nonverbally, through her touch, as Anaya depicts: "When she came, the beauty of the Ilano unfolded before my eyes The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood She took my hand, and the silent, magic power she possessed made beauty.

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