A Comparison of Bless Me Ultima and The House on Mango Street

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Exploring Syncretism in Bless Me Ultima and The House on Mango Street

Syncretism is the fine line between Christianity and Native American Religions because it is the ambivalent, simultaneous attraction of choice and identification to the influences of two or more religious belief systems. Syncretism is most common among minority groups such as Hispanics. The definition applied to their unique position of culture is brought about by the Native American and Spanish ancestry. Ambivalence is shown even by the word Hispanic, which is an "umbrella" term. The novels, Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me Ultima(1972) and Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street(1984) explore syncretism and how it enhances and exemplifies the issue of
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She represents the Native American minority culture and Christianity as a curandera. She is a Native American spiritual healer who is derived from Rudolfo Anaya's own experience, "of a woman who was said to have powers to cure sickness"(Hispanic Biography 42). The syncretism of Ultima's Christ like abilities are given in two illustrations.

Ultima's Christ like nature is displayed through her abilities, or powers as a curandera to perform miracles. Ultima's powers are shown in the text as being good; although, it is confusing to say whether her powers are coming from Christianity, or witchcraft? To illustrate the issue of this comparison to Christ, Antonio's mother recalls Ultima's powers saying, "I have seen her work miracles. She learned from the flying man from Las Pasturas"(Anaya 85). The incongruity of this statement to that of Christianity is clear cut. According to the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Anaya acquired the myth and superstitions from his family who lived in Pastura about a women like Ultima, who could heal (42). From Anaya's experience, syncretism of miracles and elements of superstition in folk Catholicism is apparently true. However, the only one to perform miracles in Christianity is Christ.

To further illustrate the comparison of Ultima to Christ is the aura of power Ultima's character seems to possess, and to which she gains respect as a healer. The instance in the text where

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