Ultima and Tony Case
Scene 1, pg. 90-104
Tony is first introduced to adult situations when he witnesses the men shoot Lupito. He is now introduced to the power of Ultima and her magic. Tony sees for himself Ultimas power and how his uncle is healed within a couple days.
The most important theme development in this scene is Tonys disbelief in the power of God and the priest. Tony really starts to doubt God in this scene because the prayers of his family and the blessing of the priest has not saved his uncle. Tony starts to question the power of the church when he asks, “Would the magic of Ultima be stronger than all the powers of the saints and the Holy Mother Church?” (97). When Ultima and Tony arrive, Tony discovers that his grandfather would not let Ultima come for a long time because the priest did not want his “people to place mcuh faith in the powers of la curandera [Ultima]” (97). Before Ultima starts the healing process, Tony observes that “the power of the doctor and the power of the church had failed to cure my uncle. Now eeryone depended on Ultimas magic” (99). Ultima and her powers save Lucas when no one else, including God, could. This confuses Tony and makes him question his faith.
As Lucas is healed, Tony experiences Ultimas magic first hand. When Lucas has a fever, Tony has a fever. Ultima gives Lucas medicine to cure him of the curse. This medicine hurts Uncle Lucas and Tony realizes that he too feels pain. Tony can not move or speak to Ultima and he is spasming and aching with Lucas. Tony realizes, “I felt that somehow we were going through the same cure, but I could not explain it” (100). Ultima brought Tony to help his Uncle Lucas fight the curse. Tony is much younger, stronger, and healthier than his uncle and has also had Ultima for a mentor. When Lucas is almost healed, Ultima touches Tonys forehead and “the terrible strain I felt seemed lifted from my shoulders” (100). Ultima also tells Tony, “The blood of the Lunas is very thick in you ? ” (100). Tony does not know what he will be when he is older; he could be like the Marez and travel or like the Lunas and farm. This is foreshadowing to his becoming a Luna and farming with his uncles or even a curandera like Ultima.
When Ultima and Tony are headed to Tonys uncle, Tony describes the scene as eerie and solemn. There were “whirlwinds and dust devils” that darkened the sky; “it was deathly quiet in El Puerto” (90-91). Normally, when Tony goes to visit his uncles in El Puerto, he is in a good mood and the crops are almost ready to harvest. There is usually a pleasant atmosphere but this time, as TOny and Ultima travel to speak with Tenorio, Tony commented on the “dusty vacant street” (92). WHen Ultima was talking to Tenorio, from his “dark and narrow” eyes came “an evil glint” and from his “thin lips [that] trembled when he snarled” came “spots of saliva curled at the edges of the mouth” (93). Tony sees this and realizes for himself the evil in Tenorio. ALthough the site of Tenorio is frightening, Tony is not afraid when he is with ULtima. He conducts himself in the same manner as Ultima, strong and confident. When Tenorio leaves his saloon after being accused by Ultima, “a strange, dark whirlwind swept through the dusty street and cried mornfully around the corner of the saloon” (94). The wind in this scene is constantly in TOnys ear, howling and moaning. It sets the mood as one of fear and anticipation.
When Tony and Ultima go to see Uncle Lucas, Tony is aware of the death surrounding his uncle and the obvious power of the curse. He notices the “strong smell of death in the room” and the “shrunken body of my dying uncle Lucas” whose “thin parchment of yellow skin clung to his bony face like dry paper” (96). The curse placed on Uncle Lucas had settled in for a while and is taking control of his body. This scene shows Tonys recognition of the dangerous situation at hand but also the faith he has in Ultima. He is not afraid for his uncle because he believes that Ultima, unlike anything else, can cure Lucas.
The mood of this scene changes with each different episode. When Ultima and Tony go to the saloon to see Tenorio, the mood of the scene in unnerving. His gangly and gnarled body is frightening as is the imminent curse that has been set on Lucas by Tenorios daughters. There are ominous clouds of dust on the horizon and “in the middle of the sky the sun was a blood-red dot” (95). Ultima seemed calm and collected, but Tony, seemingly confident, was obviously unnerved by the sight he saw. The constant threat on Ultimas life by Tenorio is also a frightening sight for Tony.
When Tony and Ultima go back to cure Uncle Lucas, the mood is a mix of anxiousness and perplextion. Tony seems to be going through the same purification that Lucas is going through. Throughout this scene, Tony comments on how “I could not explain it” (100). He is perplexed by what he is going through and the medicines Ultima is giving Lucas. He constantly wonders why he is also feeling sick and woozy and how he could be having the same pains and spasms