“What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it…fester like a sore - / and then run?”In Bless Me, Ultima Antonio’s dad, Gabriel, spends much of the book lamenting the fall of the “llano” way of life and wishing that he can move his family west. Gabriel’s dream represents the pre-colonizer lifestyle of American Indians, living off the plains, free from the constraints of technology and ownership. But though Gabriel is forced to leave his dream behind in order to support his family, he never really lets go of his dream – he defers it, to the future and onto his sons.
Gabriel, like Richard’s father of Pocho is depressed by his unrealized dream. Antonio’s brothers, when they come back from the war, fail to realize Gabriel’s dream and deal him another blow. How does this finally break Gabriel’s spirit? Towards the end Gabriel says, "Perhaps it is time we gave up a few of our dreams - " (261) Does Gabriel become an even better father when he seems to give a little more room to Antionio than he does to his older brothers?
In the interview at the back of the book Rudolfo Anaya responds to criticism that, “Some say I romanticized the hard times...” (284) Though the economic poverty of Antonio and his family are not main themes in the novel, how does Gabriel’s deferred dream reflect their economic situation? Could Gabriel Marez’s dream be a direct effect of the capitalist concept of ownership on a nomadic cowboy culture that existed before American ranchers?
But is Gabriel’s deferred dream just a consequence of minority poverty in what seems to be a country of opportunity, see A Raisin in the Sun? Or does it also contain specifically Marez, or broader Chicano qualities? Is the migratory impulse of the Marez a cultural phenomenon for Chincos?
Though Andrew, Antionio’s brother, at first feels bound to stay with his family by duty to his mother and in order to get a better education, he ultimately takes the path of the others, to flee and to move. Ultima reflects, "The same wandering blood in his veins was in his sons" (76). Whether “Marez blood” or the incident with Narciso causes this change in heart, it shows that the instinct to flee is strong. Will Gabriel or his three oldest sons ever control this instinct? Moreover will they ever be happy staying in one place? Does Gabriel ever fully recover from his deferred dream or is a part of him gone forever?