Sample Essay

In the novel, Anaya uses two landscapes in order to “represent the dual, conflicting aspects of Antonio’s cultural environment (Martin, 131).” Moreover, the two landscapes are the best portrayals for the “conflicting cultures” to Antonio (Martin, 144). In the following words, Martin mentions that ethnic literature of the American landscape plays a vital role as it is associated with culture and identity. Moreover for minority communities, land is just as inseparable as its inhabitants. Where land is connected with identity, “hybrid landscapes” (landscapes which ensign the cultures living there) possess importance with their connection to “bicultural identities” (Martin, 133).

When two different cultures are combined, crisis is inevitable as Martin presents Homi Bhabha’s argumnet that the crisis which is resultant from cultural conflict unveils the “borderline experience” which further results in “breakdown of the opposition of two cultures” which might run towards “displacement and dislocation on both sides” (Martin, 134). In Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio is caught between his choice of two lands, river and the plain, which also stand for the internal conflict of the protagonist. In the end, Antonio has to learn to live with the dual identities (Martin, 134).

An important point in the novel is the dream of Antonio, which serves to demonstrate the conflict between the two cultures, more specifically two families-Lunas and Vaqueros. “This will be a Luna so as to keep our customs and traditions, usheres an old man in the dream. And the fate of the baby would have settled but then the silence was shattered with the thunder of hoofbeats and vaqueros declare ownership of the boy’s destiny, He will make a fine vaquero, declare the vaqueros  (Anaya, 5-6).

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