Signs Preceding the End of the World


Yuri Herrera

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Signs Preceding the End of the World Characters


The novel’s protagonist, whose journey from the Little Town where she lives across the border in search of her brother forms the backbone of the narrative. Her quest not only directly represents the difficult, perilous… read analysis of Makina

Makina’s Brother

Makina’s journey is motivated by her enigmatic brother, who initially leaves the Little Town on a quest to prove that his family rightfully owns a contested plot of land nearby, but gets swept up… read analysis of Makina’s Brother


Makina’s loving mother, who sends her across the border with a message for her brother. Makina’s fierce loyalty to Cora accounts for her unshakable dedication to completing her mission. However, Cora actually only… read analysis of Cora

The Anglo Family

A white family—a mother, father, son, and daughter. They used to live in the house whose address Makina gets from a woman who works in a restaurant with the boy from the bus. This… read analysis of The Anglo Family

The “Patriotic” Policeman

A policeman who lines up a number of (mostly “homegrown”) Mexican Americans and yells at them for failing to obey the commands of their white superiors and accept their place at the bottom… read analysis of The “Patriotic” Policeman
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A coyote who works for Mr. Aitch and/or Mr. Q and facilitates Makina’s crossing into the United States. He helps her across the river that forms the official border before driving her through the… read analysis of Chucho

The Anglo Rancher

An enraged white man, “armed to the eyeballs,” who pursues and shoots after Makina and Chucho as they traverse the desert in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It is unclear whether he is motivated by racism or… read analysis of The Anglo Rancher

The Old Man

A Mexican man who guides Makina to the baseball stadium where she hands Mr. Aitch’s package to Mr. P and helps her avoid detection by the police during her journey there. He also gives… read analysis of The Old Man

Mr. Aitch

A violent gang leader whom Makina meets at the Pulquería Raskolnikova after visiting Mr. Double-U. Aitch plays dominoes with his “thugs,” but clearly respects Makina and quickly defers to her when she arrives. He… read analysis of Mr. Aitch

Mr. Q

The third local mob boss Makina visits in the Little Town before setting out on her quest. A man of few words who always dresses in black and runs a restaurant called “Casino,” Mr. Q… read analysis of Mr. Q

The Boy from the Bus

A young man of roughly Makina’s age who harasses her on her bus to the Big Chilango. Uninterested in his antics and unafraid to stand up for herself, she immediately fends him off… read analysis of The Boy from the Bus

Makina’s Little Sister

She never appears in the book, but Makina worries constantly about her safety and her future. Her desire to offer her little sister guidance and support is one of Makina’s primary motivations for wanting to… read analysis of Makina’s Little Sister

Mr. Double-U

A rotund man with ties to the criminal underworld who Makina meets in a steam room at the very beginning of the story. Cora once sheltered him during a difficult time, and for this he… read analysis of Mr. Double-U

Mr. Aitch’s Driver

A mysterious man who dutifully picks Makina up after she evades the anglo rancher but refuses to talk to her or get involved with the package she is carrying for Mr. Aitch. Emotionally and… read analysis of Mr. Aitch’s Driver
Minor Characters
Mr. P
An old associate of Mr. Double-U, Mr. Aitch, and Mr. Q, who left the Little Town because of a conflict with Mr. Aitch and is now based north of the border. Despite this old conflict, he and his goons receive Mr. Aitch’s packet from Makina’s at the baseball stadium.