Title

The Illusion of Power: An Analysis of Magical Realism and Religion in Bless Me, Ultima

Presenter Information

James Thomas

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 135

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

This paper examines Rudolfo Anaya's novel Bless Me, Ultima, analyzing the use of Magical Realism in relation to religion, spiritualism, and the occult. It highlights and scrutinizes the supernatural feats and abilities of the brujas (witches), curanderas (healers), and worshipers of paganism. Each of these religious factions possess powers that have visible effects on the world and are witnessed first hand by the narrator, Antonio Marez. The power of these factions is then used in contrast to the seeming powerlessness of the Catholic Church. Antonio’s confrontation with the supernatural impotence of the Church forces him into the uncomfortable position of questioning the beliefs of his family and community. Finally, an analysis of the power machinations of the Church within the Chicano community provides further insight into Anaya's treatment of religion within his novel, illustrating how the Church maintains its power and influence despite its inability to provide overt supernatural displays or to oppose the powers of the other religious factions.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Christopher Schedler

Additional Mentoring Department

English

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May 16th, 2:40 PM May 16th, 3:00 PM

The Illusion of Power: An Analysis of Magical Realism and Religion in Bless Me, Ultima

SURC 135

This paper examines Rudolfo Anaya's novel Bless Me, Ultima, analyzing the use of Magical Realism in relation to religion, spiritualism, and the occult. It highlights and scrutinizes the supernatural feats and abilities of the brujas (witches), curanderas (healers), and worshipers of paganism. Each of these religious factions possess powers that have visible effects on the world and are witnessed first hand by the narrator, Antonio Marez. The power of these factions is then used in contrast to the seeming powerlessness of the Catholic Church. Antonio’s confrontation with the supernatural impotence of the Church forces him into the uncomfortable position of questioning the beliefs of his family and community. Finally, an analysis of the power machinations of the Church within the Chicano community provides further insight into Anaya's treatment of religion within his novel, illustrating how the Church maintains its power and influence despite its inability to provide overt supernatural displays or to oppose the powers of the other religious factions.