Essay about Icons of Ambivalence in Bless Me Ultima

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Icons of Ambivalence in Bless Me Ultima

The portrait of Mexican Americans is layered in shades of ambivalence. Aside from the fact there is evidence that they can not really be classified as a migratory culture in that the land where they tend to migrate once belonged to Mexico, they can also lay an earlier claim to the land as Native Americans. The Spanish Europeans who settled in the area that became Mexico evolved as the dominant culture over the oral culture of the Native Americans. Nevertheless, there is evidence of ambivalence among the Native Americans to the dominant culture of the Spanish in what is arguably one of the Mexico's basic texts, the story of the Miraculous Apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531.
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Legend says that a child who cries in the womb will be given the "Don" and become a curandera. "Don" means the gift from God.

(La Curandera 1).

Therein lies the contradiction of the curandera, she cannot be categorized as only a pagan icon, in that curandera has respect for and practices the religion of Catholicism along with her healing (Blessed or Evil). Similar to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the character of Ultima, a curandera, defies easy classification as either of the native or dominant culture. The myth of the Miraculous Apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531 and Bless Me Ultima arise as cultural narratives of ambivalence, with elements of both resistance and assimilation in their characters, which elude definition by dominant culture's standards.

Juan Diego, the native peasant to whom the Virgin of Guadalupe appears, and Antonio Marez, the young boy who is to become an apprentice of sorts to Ultima, exhibit similar ambivalence, with one important distinction. Juan Diego becomes more enmeshed with the dominant culture as a result of his experience by becoming a life long proponent of the Catholic faith (Blessed Juan). Antonio, on the other hand, seems to veer away from the ideal of the Church as he questions its true power in certain matters of spirituality.

When Antonio's uncle becomes very ill under the curse laid by the Trementina sisters, known "brujas"

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