John Lewis Stubbs Saturday, January 13, 2018English Period 8 Bless Me Ultima In the world there are many different religions/system of beliefs that people follow. These beliefs have their own stories that go against other religions beliefs. We see this type of disagreement in Bless Me Ultima with the Legend of the Golden Carp and Christianity and bring conflict between characters into the picture. Christianity is described as the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices. This differs from the legend of the golden carp which is a story of a group of people who were left in valley by God and were told not to eat the carp. These people starved and had a drought so they had no other choice but to eat the carp. They were in trouble for this action so their God asked the other gods to not punish his people for their horrible actions. The gods then decided to turn all the people into “carp”. Their god decided that he wanted to watch over his people so he turned himself into the golden carp. The golden carp serves as a symbol for an alternative to the Christian God, and it represents wisdom and power that stems from the Native American heritage, a heritage that Antonio shares. It’s an important piece of these characters’ identities, no matter how much their religion may disagree with it (Shmoop Editorial Team). In Bless Me Ultima the character Antonio struggles to choose which religion he puts his faith into. He was forced into believing in Christianity because of his parents in his early childhood. He wants to believe in the Golden Carp but Christianity denies him of that because they only believe in one god. The act of believing in any other god or more than one god is a sin. When Samuel tells Antonio about the golden carp, Antonio’s ideas about God, religion, and spirituality start to shift. All the things Antonio has seen in the world has influenced him to have a distrust in Christianity. Antonio saw Lupito, Narciso, Florence, Tenorio and Ultima die and God himself couldn’t answer his questions as to why they died. Antonio is stuck, confused and lost because these two beliefs fail to give him the answers he’s looking for.Then in chapter 19 Antonio says, “I called again to the God that was in me, but there was no answer, only emptiness.” At this point Antonio is frustrated with the fact that he isn’t receiving the answers he is looking for. In Bless Me Ultima they use the real world term ”seeing is believing”. In order for you to see the golden carp you have to believe in the golden carp. However this comes as a struggle for Antonio because Christianity doesn’t give him a chance to believe in the golden carp because of their beliefs. We see this struggle in the book when Cico wanted to take Antonio to see the Golden Carp in chapter 11 where Antonio says,”I am a Catholic…I can only believe in the God of the Church… But I want to believe…it’s just that I have to believe in him?”. This shows his struggle/commitment of his belief in Christianity and how its impacting his beliefs. In Bless Me Ultima Antonio has a best friend named Florence. He is different from everyone else and doesn’t believe in God. This is something that has been his worst enemy throughout the book because a lot of things have happened to him. His mother died when he was a child. He was also there to watch his father commit suicide with alcohol abuse. His sisters are looked as fools and shunned because they became prostitutes. Florence has done no wrong but feels like life continues to punish him in bad ways. He always questions the idea that God is supposed to “love and protect his people” but all these bad things keep happening to him.Antonio sees Florence die because of not believing in any religion whatsoever. Antonio believes that people like Florence shouldn’t be killed for not believing in a religion. This is an example of an question he wants an answer to. In my opinion, I feel like Antonio should explore both religions. He wants answers so he should believe in the golden carp and try to find answers. If that doesn’t work out for him he should then go back to Christianity. In the end both of these religions can join together in Antonio’s life. Antonio is stuck between believing in one god or believing in another god that you can only see if you really believe in him. In this story you are basically forced to believe in something or you will be completely outcasted and looked down upon for not believing in something.