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Bless Me, Ultima Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Bless Me, Ultima'' is an essential standard of Chicano literature. These activities can help students explore the plot, themes, and characters of this novel in unique and creative ways.

Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima is a 1972 novel by Rudolfo Anaya and a cornerstone of Chicano literature. For some students, this story will serve as an intriguing introduction to Chicano identity in the United States. For others, this novel will strike many familiar chords as they see their lives reflected in fiction. The following activities can help students to engage with this novel and its characters on a deeper level.

Bless Me, Ultima Activities

Antonio's Poem

Ask students to start by free-journaling about Antonio's journey. Ask them to think about how he grows, what he learns, and what struggles he faces in terms of his identity. Students will then try to write a poem from Antonio's perspective about his questions of identity, growing up, and the world around him. Give students freedom to structure this poem as they'd like. If you have multilingual students or are teaching this as part of a Spanish class, consider asking students to work Spanish into their poems.

  • Materials: Copies of Bless Me, Ultima, writing supplies

Character IDs

Provide students with five blank index cards. Ask students to spend several minutes reflecting on the characters in Bless Me, Ultima and free-journaling on this, if needed. When they are ready, students will use the index cards to make a New Mexico state ID card for five of the characters in the novel. One of these must be Antonio, but students can choose the other four. On the front of the index card, students will draw an image of the character and write out the character's name and physical description. On the back, they will describe the character's personality, wants, needs, and beliefs.

  • Materials: Copies of Bless Me, Ultima, index cards, art and craft supplies as desired

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