Signs Preceding the End of the World

by

Yuri Herrera

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Signs Preceding the End of the World can help.
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 desert and fighting off the anglo rancher long enough for her to escape. He appears to get arrested or shot during this altercation, but he shows up again in the novel’s last chapter, when he takes Makina to the door that leads to the mysterious underground world where the novel ends. Strapping, jovial, and chivalrous, Chucho might be a stereotypical male hero in any other story. But in the feminist narrative of the story, he is merely the journey’s handmaiden: he specifically represents Xolotl, the god who takes the form of a dog and guides souls to the underworld (Mictlán) in many Indigenous Mexican religious traditions. Indeed, “Chucho” is a slang term for a dog—but also a nickname for someone named “Jesús,” which points to the hybrid symbolism of his role as Makina’s guide through the afterlife.

Chucho Quotes in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The Signs Preceding the End of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Chucho or refer to Chucho. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the And Other Stories edition of Signs Preceding the End of the World published in 2015.
Chapter 3 Quotes

You just took your last trip, coyote.

I’m no coyote, Chucho said.

Ha! I seen you crossing folks, the man said. And looks like now I caught you in the act.

Not the act I’m denying, said Chucho, tho I’m no coyote.

The anglo’s expression indicated that he was engaged in a mighty struggle with the nuances of the concept. He scanned Chucho’s face for a few seconds, waiting for clarification. And now, yessir, chose to point the gun at them.

What I’m denying, Chucho went on, Is that you caught us.

Related Characters: Chucho (speaker), The Anglo Rancher (speaker), Makina
Page Number: 48-9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

Over the door was a sign that said Verse. She tried to remember how to say verse in any of her tongues but couldn’t. This was the only word that came to her lips. Verse.

Related Characters: Makina, Chucho
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chucho Character Timeline in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Chucho appears in Signs Preceding the End of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Water Crossing
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...because of her “stupid” brother’s quest “for a little land.” The man introduces himself as Chucho and offers her a cigarette. Makina asks how he recognized her—“they sent me a picture,”... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Makina asks Chucho if it is right for them to cross during the day, but he explains that... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Place Where the Hills Meet
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina sees nothing, and then “two mountains colliding in the back of beyond.” Chucho informs her that, past these mountains, she will find a truck to “take [her] on... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
A black truck with searchlights is following Makina and Chucho. Its driver is “an anglo with dark glasses” whose “eyes [shoot] bullets through the two... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Makina gets dressed and asks Chucho about his phone conversation. He explains that he thinks the anglo outside has “his own... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Outside, the revolver-wielding anglo rancher confronts Chucho and Makina: “You just took your last trip, coyote.” Chucho declares that the man has... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
From a distance, Makina turns around and sees the police aiming their guns at Chucho, who is laying on the ground with his hands behind his head, and the unconscious... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Obsidian Place with No Windows or Holes for the Smoke
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
...knowing how or when she will make it home. Passing through a park, she meets Chucho, who has been “looking out for” her throughout her journey. He knows her whole story... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Chucho and Makina reach a door, and he promises that the people behind it will “give... (full context)