The Borders of Language

“Like he was ripping out her heart, like he was cleanly extracting it.. (signs 90).”  A thing that some Americans and our president will never understand the border of language that separates us from those that we miss and love. Yuri Herrera writes about the borders of language that Americans and Immigrants face. In his novel Signs we explore the life of a young girl Makina and how she is forced to cross the border. As many people have thought it seems like an easy task when in reality it isn’t countless people lose their lives trying to make it to the United States. In their words they either catch you, bring you back or they find you dried up somewhere and return you in a casket. Makina is also forced to face the new language as she crosses the border against her will.

A lot of people assume that it is easy to learn a new language and that if you have lived in America you should speak nothing but English. You see people get offended because one word is uttered in Spanish or any other language. “More than midpoint between homegrown and Anglo their tongue is a nebulous territory between what is dying out and what is yet born(signs 65).” In this section Makina is talking about how the Americans around her are switching back and forth to English and Spanish which shows a border of language between them because they are doing it on purpose.

In the chapter that truly shows the border of language is one titled “The place where people’s hearts are eaten which is a great title because it shows the separation of families and the harsh reality that many come to the north and never come back. They either get deported or they find someone else and forget about their family. As Makina finds her brother he seems like a stranger and he says the truth about those who cross the border he says “I guess that’s what happens to everybody… we forget what we came for (signs 90).” Many do come here and remember but many also come here and forget, and yet they are the ones who judge those like them because of the language and they can’t see who they used to be.



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