In the novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World by Uri Herrera, one major theme discussed is borders. Borders can represent several different things in literature. In the simplest way a border can represent a line that divides two different territories, while in a symbolic way, a border can be crossed between communities and identities or gender. In this novel we follow Makina through her quest to find her brother, who has crossed the border from Mexico to the United States. Makina’s job is to give her brother a note from their Mother, that pleads for him to come back.
Along this quest Makina runs into several problems, we first learn about her tough personality when she is on the bus to the U.S.
“Makina turned to him, stared into his eyes so he’d known that her next move was no accident, pressed a finger to her lips, shhh, eh, and with the other hand yanked the middle finger of the hand he’d touched her with almost all the way back to an inch from the top of his wrist” page 31.
While Makina is trying to cross the border to the states, she is also crossing a symbolic border of gender. Since Makina is a female, she faces a lot more sexual harassment and uncertainty while on this quest. She is very cautious around men and always on her toes around them.
While I assume that when her brother crossed the border, he did not have to worry about sexual harassment. Not only do we see this gender bias in crossing the border, we see it in the different tasks that siblings do. Makina’s brother crossed because he was given land, and he wants to financially support his family, which can be seen as a very masculine role, whereas Makina’s job is to hand deliver a note but we can see from the example above that she is capable of many other jobs.