A question raised when reading Signs Preceding the End of the World by Uri Herrera, is whether or not the strong-headed main character, Makina, seeks something much more sex within her relationships. Because she is in search of her brother across the border, her mind seems to be set on finding him and returning home as soon as she can. However, it isn’t until she meets Chucho that her interests seem to change.
Makina had a boyfriend before leaving to the United States, but the audience was never given a name for him. She described her time with him as “…every weekend they would shuck, and whenever she senses he was about to declare himself, Makina would kiss him with extra dirty lust just to keep his mouth shut” (Loc 192). Her behavior shows her use of her boyfriend, and how she tried to avoid as much connection as possible. He was her sexual escape, because she did not want the capacity to have more. Perhaps she does not know what a physical, intimate love is like.
As she hangs around Chucho she begins to recognize her attraction for him. She was expecting him to comment on her looks when they first met, yet he stayed quiet (Loc 299). This made Chucho more desirable to Makina because he was not like most men. The audience can see Chucho’s respect towards Makina when he refuses to look at her when she is changing in front of him. Makina, on the other hand, secretly wished he would look, because she “knew he was still staring out the window but his voice enveloped her”(Loc 355). Makina is somewhat entranced by his behavior and wants him more and more as time passes.
The men where she lives are always disrespecting and objectifying women, making Makina always have her guard up against men. However, Chucho is slowly chipping away at Makina’s internal barrier, making her wish for something more with him.
As Makina stumbles upon a wedding, she has thoughts about how “It must be that they know… other marriages, good ones where people don’t split up, where fathers don’t leave and they each keep speaking to the other. That must be why they are so happy…or perhaps they just want the papers, even if it’s only to fit in; maybe being different gets old after awhile” (Loc 630).
She secretly wishes that intimacy was more common and made a priority in society, even though she herself seeks out more sexual connections than personal ones. Makina feels like she won’t have the opportunity to have marriages built on love, but rather on the idea of just having a paper identity.
The more this book continues, the more we see the intimate sides of Makina and what she truly wants. Will she settle for sex or search for something more?