Course Hero Logo

Bless Me, Ultima | Study Guide

Rudolfo A. Anaya

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Bless Me, Ultima Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 8 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, April 27). Bless Me, Ultima Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Bless Me, Ultima Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed June 8, 2023.


Course Hero, "Bless Me, Ultima Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed June 8, 2023,

Rudolfo A. Anaya | Biography


Early Life

Rudolfo Alfonso Anaya was born on October 30, 1937, in the small farming town of Pastura, New Mexico. Like the mother of protagonist Antonio in Bless Me, Ultima, Anaya's mother was a devout Catholic from a farming family. His father grew up among ranchers in the llano (plains) of eastern New Mexico. Anaya was the only boy in his family to attend primary school. Again, as in the novel, his three brothers served in the military during World War II (1939–45). When Anaya very young, his family moved from rural Pastura to the large town of Santa Rosa. As a young boy Anaya loved listening to the fantastic tales told by the cuentistas, or storytellers.

In 1952 Anaya's family relocated to the big city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for better work opportunities. There Anaya became familiar with the street gangs of the city. This experience also became part of Bless Me, Ultima.

Student and Teacher

In 1956 Anaya graduated from high school. He decided to become an accountant, so he enrolled at Browning Business School in Albuquerque. After a couple of years he decided against accounting and enrolled at the University of New Mexico. In 1963 he received his bachelor's degree in literature, and five years later he got a master's degree. During graduate school he met and married Patricia Lawless, a guidance counselor. She inspired him to return to school for another master's degree, this time in guidance counseling. He received his degree in 1972—the same year he published Bless Me, Ultima.

While in graduate school, Anaya became a teacher in the Albuquerque public schools. He taught there for seven years and then spent three years as the director of counseling at the University of Albuquerque. Anaya then began teaching English at his alma mater, the University of New Mexico, where he became a professor emeritus.

Novelist and Writer

Anaya always loved literature and storytelling, and he began writing at an early age. After Bless Me, Ultima, his first and most famous novel, was published in 1972, he followed up with Heart of Aztlán in 1976, and Tortuga in 1979. The books form a trilogy that explore the search for knowledge and meaning in modern times. One critic says that Anaya's books "offer separate worlds with different characters ... [but] allusions ... loosely connect the three works." Anaya's works blend history, real-life experience, myth, spirituality, and imagination to bring to life the experience of Chicanos (Mexican Americans born in the United States) in New Mexico. His books also reveal his deep connection to nature and his concern for preserving the natural world.

Anaya is an important and highly respected figure among American writers and is considered a founding father of Chicano literature. His work is not limited to novels but also includes poems, plays, and essays. President Barack Obama awarded Anaya a National Humanities Medal in 2015.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Bless Me, Ultima? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!