Bless Me, Ultima: Novel Summary: Chapter 3

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The next morning, still pondering the fate of Lupito's soul, Antonio speculates about hell and Purgatory and the forgiveness of God. He knows that the men who shot Lupito committed a dreadful sin. Still puzzling over these matters, he goes with his family to morning mass. The church is the biggest building he has ever seen. Before mass begins, he goes to the side of the church where his friends hang around. These are Ernie, Horse, Bones, Samuel, Lloyd, the Vitamin Kid, Florence, and Abel. Most of them are several years older than Antonio, who has not yet begun to attend school. The boys indulge in horseplay and discuss the events of the previous night. Antonio succeeds in throwing Horse to the ground in a wrestling match. Horse does not mind too much, and that day Antonio becomes a real member of their gang.

Analysis

The conflict between Antonio's mother and father is prominent again, when Antonio describes their Sunday morning arguments. Gabriel is not reconciled to leaving the llano and working on the highways in Guadalupe, and he blames his wife because she is from a farming family. He thinks that is why she keeps him shackled to one piece of land. The parents also disagree over religion. Antonio's mother is a staunch Catholic who wants her youngest son to become a priest, but her husband is not much of a believer and holds a low opinion of priests. 

This chapter also contains an example of what is called foreshadowing. Foreshadowing occurs when an author creates expectations or sets up an explanation of later developments. In this chapter, there is a moment that foreshadows later events. It happens when the family goes to church. People they pass on the way remark nervously about Ultima, knowing she is a curandera. One voice utters the word bruja (witch) about Ultima. This accusation will later prove central to the unfolding of the plot. Its unobtrusive appearance here helps to prepare the reader.

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