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Icons of Ambivalence in Bless Me Ultima

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. The Virgin of Guadalupe does not fit the usual model of the Virgin as she appears to believers, the biggest change being her native appearance. She is of the dominant culture’s religion, and yet she is not. Her appearance is one of only eight worldwide that have found acceptance by the Catholic Church (Apparition 48). Moreover, she is a symbol of the native culture as well and has reverence in the eyes of both Mexicans and Mexican Americans that remains evident to date.

Notably as well, Bless Me Ultima, a modern work of fiction set in New Mexico, depicts not only ambivalence toward the dominant culture of the United States, but also remnants of the same ambivalence toward the Catholic Church found hundreds of years earlier in the native culture of Mexico. Ultima, one of the principle characters in the novel, practices the ancient art of Curanderismo, an approach to healing which encompasses the body, mind and emotions along with the soul and the spirit (Curandera 1). Ultima practices the four …

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…Robert C.

Broderick, ed. New York: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1987. 48.

“Blessed Juan Diego: Model of Humility”. 29 Oct. 2000.

“Blessed or Evil. 5 October 2000.

“Curandera Elena Avila. 5 October 2000.

de Vega, Bechiller Luis Lazo. “History of the Miraculous Apparition of the Virgin of

Guadalupe in 1531.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Later. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 475-82.

“La Curandera: Blessed or Evil.” 5 October 2000.

“Scapular.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Revised and Updated. Robert C.

Broderick, ed. New York: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1987. 543.

The Frontier of Existence in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

The Frontier of Existence in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

‘I feel that I had been at the frontier of existence, close to the place where they lose their names, their definition, the place where time stops, almost outside History’ (E Ionesco).

This essay will explore the frontier of existence in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

The title Rhinoceros is formed from the ancient Greek Rhino meaning nose and Keros meaning horn. However, in this play I take rhinoceros to mean an animal that is thick-skinned and ugly. The people who become rhinoceroses become as thick skinned as the rhinoceroses they turn into. On first viewing of Rhinoceros one journeys with the characters on what appears to be something of a mystery tour. One cannot be sure if a rhinoceros really exists. It is this sense of unknowing that makes for a lack of definition in the characters themselves. There is Jean’s first announcement of ‘Oh a rhinoceros’ (Act I:I P.14) as he points off stage is tantalising as one can only hear noises. One tries to define the situation and the characters by questioning their imagination and sanity. Much that one might expect to be told about the characters and their situation is denied to us. One only gets little snippets of information about their society for example a couple of revelations from Jean to Berenger: ‘there’s been no zoo in our town since the animals were destroyed in the plague…ages ago…’ (I:I P.20) and ‘You know perfectly well that the Council banned all travelling performers from the district…There haven’t been any since we were children.’ (I:I P.20). Council has a capital ‘c’ and there is no mention of God anywhere which is a striking opposite from Waiting f…

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…ific tyranny or exile; perhaps the Nazi occupation of France or separation from one’s homeland. But one does have choices as definition does not have to be of a single entity. Emphasis could be put on defining what happens while Vladimir and Estragon are waiting rather than notions of termination

Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot

Cohen, R., Back to Beckett

Coe, Richard N., Eugène Ionesco: A Study of His Work

Hayman, Ronald, Eugène Ionesco

Ionesco, Eugène, Rhinoceros, The Chairs and The Lesson

Lamont, Rosette C., Ionesco: A Collection of Critical Essays

Lamont, Rosette C. and Friedman, M.J., The two faces of Ionesco

Lazar, Moshe., The Dream and the Play: Ionesco’s Theatrical Quest

Lyons, C., Samuel Becket

Lewis, Allan, Ionesco

Pronko, Leonard C., Eugène Ionesco

Worth, K., Beckett the Shape Changer

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