Borders of the Future Hell

In Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, there seems to be a nostalgic interpretation into what borders symbolize and represent in this presented society. At the beginning of the text, the main character, Makina, is introduced to the reader as some sort of hero set out on a quest. She takes on this stance but it seems peculiar at the time to have this female protagonist as the adventure/quest seeker. That aspect makes this development of borders so interesting.

The most relevant border mentioned in this is the one defining the primary journey at hand for Makina, being the one separating her from migrating to a new country. The border seems to be a representation of the Mexico and North American border. Which this border is described explicitly as some sort of hell like place and the border itself is more representative of life and death as well. There are multiple references to it,

“I’m dead, Makina said to herself, and hardly had she said it than her whole body began to contest that verdict and she failed her feet frantically backward, each step mere inches from the sinkhole, until the precipice settled into a perfect circle Makina was saved” (11).

This expands the notion of what could be Makina’s journey not just crossing the border of her reality but worse, a life and death type situation. The beginning starts with the reputation of “I’m dead” which seems to symbolic. What stood out though based on my own knowledge and that of in class discussion is the parallelism to Dante’s Inferno being certain levels of hell and Makina seems to be undergoing this specific quest going through her own hell. Another section of the text that draws on this idea states:

“I don’t know what they told you, declared the irritated anglo, I don’t know what you think you lost but you ain’t going to find it here, there was nothing here to begin with” (70).

This just sums up Makina’s almost end revelation of what her journey of this crossing borders has lead to in relation to all she endures in hellish states.


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