Now, a Literary Moment...
The novel Bless Me, Ultima is a landmark in Chicano literature. Published in 1972, it tells the story of a boy named Antonio growing up in rural New Mexico.
As he wrote Antonio's story, author Rudolfo Anaya drew upon his own childhood. At first, he thought of the book as a way of paying tribute to the people and vivid culture he knew as a boy.
Then, he says, the book became a spiritual journey …
Rudolfo Anaya: I realized it had to go deeper. It had to go into the world of legend, and mythology, and symbolism. So I spent seven years -- not only learning to write, but learning to explore the choices Antonio has to make. What is good in the world? What is evil? What is my relationship to the church and to God? If I see the Golden Carp in the stream and it is a beautiful part of nature, can that be God, or God-like?
Rudolfo Anaya … talking about his novel Bless Me, Ultima. Set in rural New Mexico, it's become a classic of Chicano literature.
This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.
[ Audio ]