In the novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, the theme regarding borders is very much prominent over any other theme. In the novel there are two ideas shaped around the idea of borders. One being the border between Mexico and United States and the other being the border between genders.

Being a Hispanic women myself in the United States I relate to the struggles the protagonist goes through. Maybe this is me being biased on the stereotypes I choose to listen to but I am a firm believer that most men believe hispanic women are “easy.” I can name an amount of times I have been classified as “easy” because of my culture and if I fire back at a prude man in the streets I am considered “fiesty” when simply I don’t want to be cat called and do not feel I am worthy of being cat called, I am worth more.

“They said he’d offed a woman, among other things; left her by the side of the road in an oil drum on orders from Mr. Aitch. Making had asked him if it was true back when he was courting her, and all he said was Who cares if I did or not, what counts is I please ’em all. Like it was funny.”

This quote supports the idea of how the men in the book and in real life do not respect women, especially hispanic women. The way the man in the story speaks of how he can please a women so easily makes it seem as if he was over powering to women which sickens me. As a woman this offends me a lot but it also enlightens me because I feel comforted when its apparent in the public eye and I appreciate the author for writing on this topic in such a dynamic way.

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Male vs. Female

In the novel Baho!, written by Roland Rugero, the author depicts how “great” men are perceived in the world they are in. Women are treated poorly, beaten and abused, and depicted as little-to-nothing. As a woman I do find this offensive but I also know what the author is trying to convey. He wants to tell a story of how these women are perceived and how very true the way they are being perceived is. Many women, even today in 2017, are looked down upon. And with the harsh ways he explains how badly the women are treated creates a point across that allows the reader to understand what the women of this story are going through. 

Night and Day

In the novel Baho!, by Roland Rugero, it depicts an idea of a place where women are used as sex objects. They are raped, tortured, and mistreated in the novel in which the author explains using cryptic descriptive language. And unlike in the novel Tram 83 where the sexualization of women seems to be justified by the women, Baho! gives a picture of how it terrorizes the women in the story.

Then suddenly, from the morning silence that colors this struggle, a scream escapes. A strident, loud, terrified scream, “Mfasha!” Help me!

The mute tries to smother her screams with his palm. She must calm down, shut up. He doesn’t want anything bad; he simply wants her to show him the latrines.

With her hand balled in a st and her mouth covered, the young girl assumes that she will soon be suffocated.

Her judgment is clouded by the violence. She knows that she may soon be dead.

An image is created with this quote making the reader realize just what the women in this novel would go through. It fascinates me how these two seperate authors depict sex in two complete different ways. In Tram 83, when you first read it you do not get the certain image of it being a typical happy story, but as you go through the novel you learn this is just their way of living and their is techinically nothing wrong with it. But as you read Baho! you learn that life is not always a happy ending. In this class we learned that taking pieces of writings from different languages and areas of the world sometimes cause different depictions of certain realities. It is obvious to me that Rugero was inspired by other events he possily could have gone through. I feel like this uniqueness of each story relates to the way people translate writing works because not only do I see it in just the way its translated but by the authors own seperate stories and lifestyles. I feel like as I read these two different stories I was translating their lives on paper as well as their words. I think what I am trying to get at here is that different authors with their different lifestyles and different ways of portraying life also shows us how different pieces of work could be. It is as if these authors were night and day.

(my giphy)

Time is of an Essence

In the novel, Tram 83 written by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, the idea that stood out to me was the portrayal of the rural city-state. The quote (which reoccured throughout the whole book), “Do you have the time,” made little to no sense to me at first. It had no meaning until the point was given that the meaning is very limited. It only meant that the people of this rural city-state did not have the means to survive and this was their way of surviving, it was the only thing to give them pleasure -literally. While reading the book I realized this to be true, the people of this rural city-state had nothing. No will power to keep them going, no money to keep them going, nothing. It seems reasonable that this act of prostitution is the only thing to motivate the people who live here. It is very cryptic but also very true and honest acts of happiness.

In many countries that do not have the means to live healthy and sustainable lives their birthrate seems to be way higher than countries who do have the accessibility to certain things needed to live a healthy life. It seems to be that many people that live in these conditions just have sex. Many people wonder why and are very much against these actions because it leads to much higher poverty levels, but I feel that we (the privileged) do not have a say in these actions. We do not know what it is like to have little-to-nothing. We also don’t know what it is like to have constricted happiness. We are able to have more and are capable of getting more necessities. So when we judge people, such as the ones of this city-state, we do not really know what it is like to be in their shoes.

In relation, I figured out that the usage of the white, “Do you have the time,” was a way of the people living in this rural area to find happiness. Which is sad but it is the harsh reality of this city-state.

This is one of many examples of how prostitution is one of the only ways of living in rural areas.