Historical analysis of Bless me, ultima


This essay will demonstrate your skills in organizing and writing a Historical Analysis essay about an assignednovel written by a Mexican American writer. Your essay will demonstrate your grasp of Historical Analysis, techniques used by novelists to create a sense of actual life and developing an essay from a thesis.




Length: I grade for substance, so write not less than three pages of substantial analysis. The essay will have no less than four paragraphs. 


Format: Compose the paper using typical margins, 12-point type, double spaced. When using quotes, use the MLA format of documentation including parenthetical documentation and a Works Cited page.


Prompts: Write on one and only one prompt below.Read the prompt very carefully.



Prompt #1:  One purpose of Historical Analysis is to explore how readers received/reacted to a novel when it was published and how that reception may have changed with the passage of time. Write a multi-paragraph essay that discusses how Mexican American OR non-Mexican American college students in Texas in the 1970’s may have responded to Bless Me, Ultimawhen assigned in a literature course.  Then discuss how that reaction may have changed if a Mexican American OR a non-Mexican American college student would be reading the novel today as an assigned novel in a literature course. When we talk about reactions, we are using scholarly guesses based on what we know of history and the Mexican American Experience in the US.


IMPORTANT: write your essay on Mexican American reaction then and now OR non-Mexican Americans then and now, but not both. If you combine responses from the micro and the macro cultures, your essay will be confusing.


Set the scope in your thesis:  the essay could cover reactions to characters, to story, to use of language, to values, to image, etc.For example, some Mexican American students at UT in 1970’s thought the novel was not sufficiently “movimiento.”, anti-Anglo. On the other hand, some non-Mexican educators banned the novel as part the curriculum.



Prompt #2: Effective literature is known to provide a VOICE for the intended audience or micro culture of the work. Discuss three ways that Bless Me, Ultima provides a voice for Mexican-Americans in the US at the time it was published.  If literature is a mirror in which we see ourselves, how did Anaya provide that mirror for Chicanos/Chicanas in 1970’s?  Remember our discussion of pathos, characterization, language, and externalization.




Prompt #3. Pathos is the ability of a novel to make readers respond emotionally and make us “feel” something as we read. Discuss three different methods that Anaya used in Bless Me, Ultima to create pathos. Please note that the technique Pathetic Situation is one of many methods used to create pathos.



How will the paper be graded?

I will grade on writing, grammar, punctuation, coherence, and how effectively/substantially you respond to the prompt.  Begin by addressing each prompt in the first paragraph. The thesis of your paper will be your response to the prompt. For example, if a question was “Discuss three important ways that Anaya’s novel failed to create a sense of actual life?” My thesis after an introduction could be: In Anaya’s novel, the author fails to create a sense of actual life in three important ways: unbelievable character action, poorly motivated conflicts, and confusing passage of time.



The thesis of your paper is very important. It either shows me where the paper is going or not.





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