At multiple points in life, people are faced with judgments ranging in difficulty and significance. And every decision could be affected by outside influences which could persuade people to make a choice. Sometimes, one is faced with the choice of which juice to drink in the morning, a very minute decision to make. There are other, more substantial decisions like choosing which college to attend or whether or not it is the right time to buy a home.
Depending on the size of the decision and influence, everything that happens in one’s life could be crucial moments that determine the final outcome of one’s life. This was seen in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima and Bernard Malamud’s The Natural. Both author’s used the main characters to show that one’s future is determined by the choices made throughout life, and the outside influences that guide the choices. Anaya and Malamud use other’s expectations, other’s guidance, and decisions made as significant points that help determine the outcome of the main character’s future.
A main comparison between the two stories was that both of the main characters faced constant expectations on them placed on them. In Bless Me, Ultima, Anthony is the rope in a tug of war between his two families, the Yanez and the Lunas. He is judged by his more rebellious and spirited brothers, who display characteristics of the Yanez vaqueros, and is ridiculed that he will become like his mother (Anaya 68). Also, when he goes to his Luna uncle’s house for a time, he is tried be persuaded into becoming farmers like them, for “he has the feel of the earth in his blood” (Anaya 142).
Both families tried to show him how he is more like the other, and both had the expectation of him becoming the next honored person to represent the family. Similarly, in The Natural, Roy is criticized nonstop by the fanatics of the ball club, but only when he is in a slump or having a bad game. But when he is in a great streak and crushing the baseballs, then he is adored. Roy is loved and hated constantly based on his actions, and the fickle nature of the crowd eventually determined how he was to be viewed after making his decision of selling out.
The people close to the main characters helped determine the route that their future took, whether it was for the better or worse. Unlike the previous point, the guidance that the main characters of the story received severely contrasted. In Bless Me, Ultima, Tony had the guidance of the curandera, Ultima. Her supervision and direction of Tony helped him combat and overcome struggles by giving him hope. Ultima’s supervision of Tony was crucial so that he would not make an innocent mistake that could lead to his harm.
Ultima’s protection of Tony was seen in action when Tenorio, the wicked bar owner and father of three witches, attempted to kill Tony in his drunken revenge. When he pointed his rifle at him, however, he was attacked by Ultima’s spirit in the form of an owl. Ultima died that night to protect the well being of Tony, showing how she is ultimately Tony’s keeper and protects him at all costs (Anaya 258). On the other hand, Roy’s manager Sam guided Roy in his beginning years as a ball player looking for a team.
Roy was useless without Sam. He didn’t know “how to do simple things” like dress himself or even how much to tip a person (Malamud 5-6). As Harry Sylvester noted, Roy was a player who “operates with ease and the greatest skill, without having been taught… [who] left alone… might achieve his real fulfillment. ” Roy did posses these great qualities, but Sam was like Roy’s judgment, and his absence really helped shape the outcome of Roy’s life because he wasn’t there to council Roy during tough situations.
This absence of guidance and advice was the difference of Roy achieving his predicted greatness. Much like the first point, a main comparison that could be made for both writings is the decisions both main characters take in the process of determining their future. Tony stresses out a lot throughout the entire story about his life and becoming either a pastor or a cowboy, even though he is only seven. He is also very cautious with each move and step he takes so that he won’t commit an error in his development of becoming a man.
Tony’s display of caution and care leads to him making the rightful decision of choosing elements of both families and using them to his advantage (Anaya 247). In contrast, Roy always displays a careless nature in his choices. As Orrin Judd put it, Roy continuously chose “pleasure over principle and dissipation over dedication” throughout the plot. This is certainly true because in many instances, Roy followed his primitive human nature in desire for pleasure and success, like following his desires for Harriet Bird or constantly wanting to be called “the best there ever was in the game” (Malamud 27, 34).
Roy’s choices of following his temptations and the search for fame eventually led to him tragically failing in the end. Both characters faced tough situations, but their decisions in those situations helped plan out their future. In all, the comparisons and differences of both The Natural and Bless Me, Ultima lead the audience to believe that a person’s future lies within their choices and the people’s reaction to them.
Both stories displayed how key aspects of a person’s life can help determine their future. The many choices and decisions one makes in life can determine the outcome of their future, for the better or worse. Also, if one is loved by many or has great guidance to help them, then one will have a greater chance of achieving greatness and vice versa. In the end, the human being is responsible for their decisions and they must take the necessary precautions and steps to ensure the best future possible.