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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

12. Migrant

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Carlos Bulosan
- Robinson Jeffers
- Alberto Ríos
- Tomas Rivera
- Muriel Rukeyser
- Upton Sinclair
- John Steinbeck
- Henry David Thoreau
- Helena Maria Viramontes
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Rudolfo A. Anaya (b. 1937)

Young Hispanic Woman
[6133] Anonymous, Young Hispanic Woman (c. 1969), courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.

Rudolfo A. Anaya Activities
This link leads to artifacts, teaching tips and discussion questions for this author.
Rudolfo Anaya was born in Pastura, New Mexico. His family moved to Albuquerque when he was fifteen. While working as a public school teacher, he earned degrees from the University of New Mexico. Anaya's first novel, Bless Me, Ultima (1972), is the story of a boy growing up in a small New Mexico village during World War II. His second novel, Heart of Aztlan (1976), mixes mystical elements with an examination of social concerns for the twentieth-century Chicano worker. Tortuga (1979), his third novel, is another story about growing up as a Hispanic in America, this time from the perspective of a boy wearing a full body cast. Anaya has published many other books, including epic poems, short story collections, and nonfiction works. Two of his more recent works are Albuquerque (1992) and Zia Summer (1995).

Bless Me, Ultima focuses on the impact of World War II on a small community in New Mexico. The protagonist's participation in the war lessens his feeling of isolation from American society. As it did for other minority groups, World War II accelerated the process of assimilation and acculturation for Mexican Americans. The war prompted the movement of Mexican Americans into cities where industries were badly in need of labor. Many Mexican Americans joined the various branches of the armed forces. Bless Me, Ultima was one of the first novels to document this process.

Many of Anaya's works blend elements from Chicano and Anglo culture and explore how personal and public mythologies answer questions about an individual's place in the universe. Anaya is particularly influenced by the geography and culture of the area he grew up in, the Mexico-New Mexico border.

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