1. Using Ultima as an example, define the role of the shaman in Mexican American societies.
2. The Legend of the Golden Carp has similarities to the Mexican myth of Quetzalcoatl and to the Biblical myth of the deluge. Dissect the Legend of the Golden Carp and elaborate on the connections to one of the ancient stories that delivers the same message.
3. Explain how Ultima’s spiritualism compares with Maria’s Catholicism. How are they alike? How do they differ?
4. Explain how Anaya uses myths and legends to help Tony achieve personal identity.
5. Choose one of the symbols in the novel (Ultima’s owl, for instance) and explain its significance.
6. Discuss the ways in which Tony achieves cultural identity.
7. Discuss the ways in which Anaya uses the spiritual bond between Ultima and Tony to reveal his belief in the sacredness of the land.
8. Use the symbolism of the moon and the sea to contrast the Lunas with the Marezes.
9. Discuss the discrimination that Mexicans living in New Mexico face today.
10. Research the history of el curanderismo and discuss how this practice relates to Hispanic spiritual philosophy.