Bless Me, Ultima

As you think about the male and female characters in the novel, how does this passage help explain the role that gender plays in Antonio's life, specifically?

In chapter Cuatro, Antonio says there was no saint he loved more than the Virgen de Guadalupe. In his attempt to explain why this icon is so important to him, he says: "God was not always forgiving. He made laws to follow and if you broke them you were punished. The Virgin always forgave."God had power. He spoke and the thunder echoed through the skies."The Virgin was full of a quiet, peaceful love...."But He was a giant man, and she was a woman. She could go to Him and ask Him to forgive you. Her voice was sweet and gentle and with the help of her Son they could persuade the powerful Father to change His mind." (p. 44)

Well I don't know how to answer this, could someone please help me??

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There is a soft side to Antonio that must be recognized. He does not fit the masculine stereotype of males perpetuated by popular culture. Antonio prefers the Virgin of Guadalupe to God and the golden carp because she offers forgiveness and redemption. She is a nurturing matriarchal figure yet holds great power in the hearts of men. Antonio finds the Virgin his most compelling figure in the complicated landscape of Catholicism and local beliefs. The Virgin represents the power and softness of women, which Antonio prefers to the harshness of God and men.