The Mexican-American author Rudolfo Anaya never finished business school, but that did not prevent him from achieving a highly successful literary career. Lindsay Parnell explains why Anaya is considered the founder of contemporary Chicano literature.
Rudolfo Anaya was born in Pastura, New Mexico into a family of sheep herding farmers. His academic success encouraged him to enroll at business school, but after two years Anaya was transferred to the University of New Mexico where he completed a degree in English. While teaching at a public school, Anaya spent seven years working on his debut novel Bless Me, Ultima – which earned him the prestigious Quinto Sol Literary Award. Published in 1972 to high critical acclaim, the bildungsroman relates the relationship between the young Antonio “Tony” Marez and his curandera Ultima, an aging midwife who was present at his birth. Set in post WWII New Mexico, Bless Me, Ultima features narration both in Spanish and in English. This, combined with mystical depictions of the New Mexican landscape and references to Mexican motifs such as La Llorona, reveals the extent of the indigenous cultural influence in the American South West.
Tony’s coming-of-age transformation follows from the wisdom Ultima passes down to him and his own spiritual revelations. The novel is rooted in the traditional storytelling style developed within the Chicano community. In his book, Anaya entertains and emotionally connects readers to the protagonists while exploring the political and the spiritual as dueling forces. He also challenges the oppressive binary system that defines, and ultimately restricts american multiculturalism: good vs. evil, Church vs. State, life vs. death, and reason vs. faith. In addition, the author’s informed and poignant reflections on colonization and dogma lead readers through their own search of cultural identity, much like that of the young protagonist.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.