Conflict- Throughout the novel Antonio matures from a child through his actions and decisions. He must wrestle with his parents and communities views as well as his own thoughts and beliefs in order to become the man he wants to be.
The novel was initially rejected by several publishing houses, however after pressing on with his goal of getting Bless Me Ultima published, a Chicano publishing house finally picked it up. It would later go on to win several literary awards.
It is currently the best selling Chicano novel of all time, and it has been reported that Anaya is the most widely read author among Hispanics.
It is one of the most commonly challenged books in America, due to its strong language and sexual references.
This novel follows the story of Antonio Márez who has a Curandera (shaman) named Ultima come live with his family when he was 7. The main plot line involves Ultima's struggle to stop the witchcraft of the three Bruja, daughters of Tenorio Trementina, the main villain. In the story Antonio, who is witness to several deaths, is forced to deal with religious and moral issues. His catholic beliefs are tested and ultimately through the help of Ultima and disillusionment with his faith he gives up Catholicism and his mother's dream of him becoming a priest. His relationship with Ultima helps Antonio break away from traditional religion, and become one with nature instead.
Moral independence, or one's power to make decisions that are morally sound on their own without outside influence, is a central theme throughout this story
The story follows Antonio's progression through life, and his development of moral independence is witnessed throughout