Me, Ultima is narrated by a young Mexican-American boy named Antonio
(Tony), who lives with his Spanish-speaking Catholic family in the small
New Mexican town of Guadalupe. The time is during World War II.
Antonio's three brothers are serving in the war; his two older
sisters, Deborah and Theresa, live at home.
is nearly seven years old when Ultima, a wise old woman and long-time
family friend, comes to live with them. She is a curandera, a woman who
is able to heal the sick through her knowledge of herbs and ancient
cures. She can even lift curses laid by witches. Antonio is excited by
her arrival, and when he meets her he knows that she holds the secret of
first chapter introduces Ultima and also lays out one of the basic
conflicts in the story. This is between the two sides of the family.
Gabriel, Antonio's father, is a M�rez. The M�rez are restless,
wandering, free-spirited men who come from the llano (a Spanish word
meaning plain). Antonio's mother, Maria, comes from a family of
farmers who have lived in the river valley for generations. They are
rooted in the earth. There is always tension between these two sides of
the family, as Antonio's dream vividly shows. Antonio will eventually
have to choose which side of the family he wants to identify with.
chapter also introduces the symbol of the owl. The owl is associated
with Ultima and shows her kinship with the natural world.