Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|
Rudolfo Anaya

Often referred to as the father of Chicano literature, New Mexican writer Rudolfo Anaya's novel Bless Me, Ultima (1972), influenced a generation of Chicano authors. Before its publication, the Chicano experience was largely absent from the American literary canon, something Anaya discovered when he began college. Anaya's novels often envoke the New Mexico of his childhood, including the rural plains and a mix of Mexican, American, and indigenous cultures. Keep on reading to get to know more about Rudolfo Anaya's books, life and achievements.

Rudolfo Anaya: Biography

Rudolfo Anaya spent the majority of his life in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico, a setting that appears in many of his written works.

Rudolfo Anaya: Childhood and Early Life

Rudolfo Alfonso Anaya was born on October 30th, 1937 in Pastura, New Mexico. His father was a vaquero, a kind of original North American cowboy, and his mother came from a family of farmers and devout Catholics. Anaya spoke Spanish at home and did not learn English until he started school.

Rudolfo Anaya, New Mexico landscape, StudySmarterAnaya's childhood in rural New Mexico influenced much of his writing. Pixabay.

In 1952, when Anaya was in 8th grade, his family moved to Albuquerque, where he experienced city life for the first time. This move was a great change from the rural llano, the plains, of his childhood, but Anaya thrived in his new environment and began attending Albuquerque High School.

In 1954, at 16 years old, Anaya broke two of his vertebrae diving into an irrigation ditch and was left temporarily paralyzed. He spent the summer hospitalized but eventually made a full recovery. This experience profoundly impacted the young man and would appear in one of his future novels.

Adulthood and Writing Career

Anaya graduated high school in 1956 and then enrolled in business school. However, he quickly tired of this path of study, and he began studying English at the University of New Mexico.

In the university, Anaya discovered the power of literature and fell in love with reading and writing. However, he recognized the lack of American literature speaking to his own experience as a Chicano, Mexican-American man.

Anaya graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1963 with his B.A. in English and American Literature and took a job teaching first elementary school, then high school in southern Albuquerque. He got married in 1966 and continued to write in his free time.

Rudolfo Anaya, open book, StudySmarterAnaya noticed that the Chicano experience was missing from the American literary canon. Pixabay.

Anaya returned to the University of New Mexico in 1968 to complete a master's degree in English and another in guidance and counseling in 1972. This same year, Anaya's first and best-known novel, Bless Me, Ultima (1972), was published. Although Anaya had been writing novels, short stories, and poetry for several years, he struggled to find a publisher due to his writing's Chicano themes and his mix of Spanish and English.

Bless Me, Ultima was finally published by Quinto Sol, an independent publishing house born out of the 1960s Chicano movement. The novel, which follows the experiences of a Mexican-American boy called Antonio, was unique at the time of its publication and influenced an entire generation of Chicano writers.

Chicano culture in the United States began as far back as 1848 with the end of the Mexican-American War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago. This treaty granted the United States ownership of a large part of the modern-day southwestern and western states, which formerly belonged to Mexico. Mexicans living in these lands became American citizens and began to develop their own culture that was unique and different from Mexican or American culture.

Although they were American citizens, many Mexican-Americans were discriminated against, and "chicano" was often used as a derogatory slur. In the 1960s, activists reclaimed the term, using it to identify and unify Mexican-American people and encourage social and political empowerment. Chicano activists banded together to demand things like labor rights, access to education, and land reclamation. This social and political movement was accompanied by various artistic movements, including the proliferation of Chicano literature.

Following the success of Bless Me, Ultima, Anaya joined the teaching faculty at the University of New Mexico, where he taught creative writing. Bless Me, Ultima also opened the doors for Anaya's literary career, and he published several more novels, collections of short stories, works of nonfiction, and children's stories.

Anaya retired from teaching in 1993. He continued writing and spent time traveling through Asia and South and Central America.

He passed away on June 28, 2020, in his Albuquerque home. He was 82 years old.

Rudolfo Anaya: Books

Rudolfo Anaya has written more than 35 books and edited or contributed to many anthologies. He is best known for his novels, including Bless Me, Ultima (1972), Alburquerque (1992), and Serafina's Stories (2004).

Bless Me, Ultima (1972)

Bless Me, Ultima was Rudolfo Anaya's first published novel and the start of his literary success.

The tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart." -Chapter 22

The novel tells the story of Antonio Márez y Luna, also known as Tony, a young boy who forms a relationship with Ultima, an elderly curandera.

The novel is set in New Mexico in the 1940s, similar to Anaya's own childhood. With Ultima's guidance, Tony navigates the cultural contradictions in his life and comes to better understand himself, his family, and the world.

Bless Me, Ultima was one of the first examples of Chicano literature to gain widespread recognition and readership. Prior to its publication, the Chicano experience was largely absent from American literature. The novel greatly influenced an entire generation of Chicano authors and is still widely taught in schools around the country.

Along with the novels Heart of Aztlan (1976) and Tortuga (1979), Bless Me, Ultima forms a loose trilogy.

Bless Me, Ultima was adapted into a film in 2013 and an opera in 2016.

A curandero is a healer or medicine person found throughout Latin America and the southern United States. They provide different kinds of traditional medicine to treat physical, spiritual, and emotional ailments.

Alburquerque (1992)

The publication of Alburquerque cemented Anaya's reputation as the leading voice of multicultural literature in the United States.

What would my grandfather say? Ben thought. Politics is the art of chingando. Chinga aquí, chingá allá, chinga a todos iguales. The art of chingando was very democratic; everybody got screwed." -Chapter 5

Alburquerque tells the story of a Mexican-American boxing champion, Abrán González, who discovers he was adopted. Abrán was always that he was different, that his skin was lighter, but the discovery that his mother was actually a wealthy white woman sends him on a quest to discover his true father.

Like much of Ayana's other work, Alburquerque takes place in New Mexico and deals with themes of class, race, and Chicano identity.

Serafina's Stories (2004)

Serafina's Stories is a New Mexican retelling of Arabian Nights and takes place in the seventeenth century.

He looked thoughtfully at Serafina. Am I the beast? he thought. Has the difficult life in this godforsaken kingdom of la Nueva México made me a beast? I go to church, I confess my sins, I listen to music. I have read the few books in my library, I am a civilized man." -Chapter 21

A young woman, Serafina, is captured alongside a group of Pueblo Indians who have been accused of trying to start a rebellion against the colonial government. The governor, however, takes a liking to Serafina and allows her to tell him stories. He agrees to release one of the prisoners for every story he likes. Serafina's stories are a mix of New Mexican folktales and European fairytales with a southwestern twist.

Other Novels

Rudolfo Anaya's other novels include Heart of Aztlan (1976), Tortuga (1979), and Lord of the Dawn: the Legend of Quetzalcóatl (1987).

Short Fiction

Rudolfo Anaya has published several collections of short fiction, including Silence of the Llano: Short Stories (1982) and The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories (2006).

Nonfiction and Anthologies

Rudolfo Anaya has published works of nonfiction, such as the travel diary A Chicano in China (1986) and the collection The Essays (2009). His essays have also been included in anthologies, such as Aztlán: Essays on the Chicano Homeland (1989) and Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood (1996).

Children's Books

Rudolfo Anaya's children's books include Maya's Children: The Story of La Llorona (1996), Elegy on the Death of César Chávez (2000), and The First Tortilla (2007).

Rudolfo Anaya: Awards

Over the course of his career, Rudolfo Anaya has received many awards, including:

  • 1971: Premio Quinto Sol for best book by a Chicano author for Bless Me, Ultima
  • 1980: American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation for Tortuga
  • 1986: Mexican Medal of Friendship, Mexican Consulate of Albuquerque
  • 1992: PEN-West Fiction Award for Alburquerque
  • 2001: NEA National Medal of Arts Lifetime Honor
  • 2015: National Humanities Medal

Facts About Rudolfo Anaya

  • Rudolfo Anaya grew up with two half-brothers and four sisters.
  • Anaya married Patricia Lawless in 1966. She encouraged him to write and helped him edit his work.
  • In 2013, Bless Me, Ultima was placed on the list of most commonly challenged books in the United States. The novel has been the repeated target of censorship due to language, violence, and sexual content.
  • Anaya was a literary advocate and established scholarships and a writer's residency to support aspiring writers.
  • In addition to novels, nonfiction work, and children's books, Anaya also wrote several plays.

Rudolfo Anaya - Key takeaways

  • Rudolfo Anaya was born on October 30, 1937, in rural New Mexico, a landscape that would inspire much of his writing.
  • Anaya's first novel, Bless Me, Ultima, was published in 1972. However, Anaya had struggled to find a publisher due to the novel's Chicano themes.
  • Anaya is considered the father of Chicano literature.
  • He has published novels, works of nonfiction, children's books, short stories, and plays.
  • Anaya died on June 28, 2020, at 82 years old.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rudolfo Anaya

Anaya died on June 28, 2020, at 82 years old.

Rudolfo Anaya has written more than 35 books and edited or contributed to many anthologies.

Rudolfo Anaya brought southwestern and Chicano literature to a national audience and inspired a generation of Chicano writers. He also supported his community as a public school teacher and by establishing scholarships and a writer's retreat.

Bless Me, Ultima is about Antonio Márez y Luna, also known as Tony, a young boy who forms a relationship with Ultima, an elderly curandera.

Rudolfo Anaya is from New Mexico.

Final Rudolfo Anaya Quiz

Question

When was Rudolfo Anaya born?

Show answer

Answer

Rudolfo Anaya was born on October 30, 1937

Show question

Question

When did Rudolfo Anaya move to Albuquerque?

Show answer

Answer

In 1952, when Anaya was in 8th grade, his family moved to Albuquerque.

Show question

Question

What happened to Rudolfo Anaya when he was 16 years old?

Show answer

Answer

At 16 years old, Rudolfo Anaya broke two of his vertebrae diving into an irrigation ditch and was left temporarily paralyzed.

Show question

Question

What did Rudolfo Anaya begin to study after high school?

Show answer

Answer

Business

Show question

Question

What university did Rudolfo Anaya attend?

Show answer

Answer

The University of New Mexico

Show question

Question

How many books has Rudolfo Anaya written?

Show answer

Answer

More than 35

Show question

Question

What did Rudolfo Anaya do after graduating college?

Show answer

Answer

He began teaching English in public schools.

Show question

Question

What two master's degrees did Rudolfo Anaya hold?

Show answer

Answer

One in English and one in Guidance and Counseling.

Show question

Question

What is the name of Rudolfo Anaya's first novel?

Show answer

Answer

Bless Me, Ultima

Show question

Question

Why is Rudolfo Anaya considered the father of Chicano literature?

Show answer

Answer

Prior to the publication of Bless Me, Ultima, the Chicano experience was largely absent from American literature.

Show question

Question

Which of Rudolfo Anaya's novels is a New Mexican retelling of Arabian Nights?

Show answer

Answer

Serafina's Stories

Show question

Question

When did Rudolfo Anaya die?

Show answer

Answer

Anaya died on June 28, 2020

Show question

Question

Why was Bless Me, Ultima placed on the list of most commonly challenged books in the United States?

Show answer

Answer

Because of language, violence, and sexual content.

Show question

Question

Which of Rudolfo Anaya's novels won the PEN-West Fiction Award?

Show answer

Answer

Alburquerque

Show question

Question

Who wrote Serafina's Stories?

Show answer

Answer

Rudolfo Anaya

Show question

Question

What are Serafina and her comrades accused of?

Show answer

Answer

Plotting rebellion against the colonial government.

Show question

Question

What is NOT a key theme in Serafina's Stories?

Show answer

Answer

The power of love

Show question

Question

What is NOT a key symbol in Serafina's Stories?

Show answer

Answer

Horses

Show question

Question

What literary device does Rudolfo Anaya use in Serafina's Stories?

Show answer

Answer

Framing

Show question

Question

In what year does Serafina's Stories take place?

Show answer

Answer

1680

Show question

Question

Where is Serafina's Stories set?

Show answer

Answer

New Mexico

Show question

Question

What does doña Ofelia bring Serafina to drink at night?

Show answer

Answer

A mug of chocolate

Show question

Question

What is the name of the guard who asks Serafina to marry him?

Show answer

Answer

Gasper

Show question

Question

True or false? The Governor wonders if Serafina could be his daughter.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What is the name of the first story Serafina tells?

Show answer

Answer

"Juan del Oso"

Show question

Question

What does Serafina stitch while she tells stories to the Governor?

Show answer

Answer

A colcha

Show question

Question

How many prisoners are captured with Serafina?

Show answer

Answer

Serafina is captured with eleven other men.

Show question

Question

What effect do Serafina's stories have on the Governor?

Show answer

Answer

They help him to relax and also help him to see the shared humanity between the Spanish colonists and the Pueblo Indians.

Show question

Question

What danger does Serafina find herself in?

Show answer

Answer

She is accused of witchcraft because of her stories' effect on the Governor.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Rudolfo Anaya quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.