The novel, Signs Preceding The End Of The World, by Yuri Herrera is about a young girl named Makina and her journey to her brother, who is in a whole new country that she has never been to before.
Throughout the novel, Herrera shows the reader just how tough Makina really is.
In the beginning of the novel, Makina explains that her mother had tasked her with a special errand in which her mother told her, “Go and take this paper to your brother. I don’t like to send you, child, but who else can I trust it to, a man?” (pg. 12). This quote, right off the bat, shows how Makina is more fit for this “errand” than a man, giving the reader a little insight on how strong Makina really is (pg 12). This novel is challenging the idea of traditional Hispanic femininity and being a traditional Hispanic woman who sits silently and does not speak up for what she wants or what she does not like.
In another instance, a young man comes to sit beside Makina and tries to make some moves on her, which Makina does not welcome kindly. Once he makes a move, Makina bends back the “middle finger of a the hand he’d touched her with almost all the way back to an inch from the top of his wrist” and told him, “shhhh,” as to not make a sound (pg 31). This shows how Makina is in control of herself, what she wants, what she is looking for, and how she decides to let herself be treated.
Makina does not answer to anyone or anything, especially to danger. In the novel, she gets “clipped” by a bullet on her side by a rancher (pg. 50). This “caused her to whirl but not fall, and as she span she took two steps forward and dealt the rancher a kick in the jaw” (pg. 50). This shows that not only can Makina handle get hurt, but she can deliver hurt back.
Makina is a strong protagonist in this novel that continues to get into situations where she needs to show her strength and her toughness, whether she likes it or not. She challenges gender roles and creates her own mold instead of fitting in someone else’s, aspiring to be her own strong version of a woman- and feminine in her own way, in her own right.