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.
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 appears once in the story , during a flashback to the moment when she asked Makina to venture north. When she meets other maternal figures throughout her journey, Makina tends to compare them to Cora and find relief in the thought that she will soon return home to be with her. Of course, this never comes to be, and ultimately Cora’s dedication to reuniting her family ends up forever distancing her from her children, whose identities are remade in the United States.

Cora Quotes in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The Signs Preceding the End of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Cora or refer to Cora. 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

Rucksacks. What do people whose life stops here take with them? Makina could see their rucksacks crammed with time. […] Photos, photos, photos. They carried photos like promises but by the time they came back they were in tatters.

In hers, as soon as she’d agreed to go get the kid for Cora, she packed:

a small blue metal flashlight, for the darkness she might encounter,

one white blouse and one with colorful embroidery, in case she came across any parties,

three pairs of panties so she’d always have a clean one even if it took a while to find a washhouse,

a latin-anglo dictionary […],

a picture her little sister had drawn in fat, round strokes that featured herself, Makina and Cora in ascending order, left to right and short to tall,

a bar of xithé soap,

a lipstick that was more long-lasting than it was dark and,

as provisions: amaranth cakes and peanut brittle.

She was coming right back, that’s why that was all she took.

Related Characters: Makina, Cora, Makina’s Little Sister
Page Number: 51-2
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Signs Preceding the End of the World LitChart as a printable PDF.
Signs Preceding the End of the World PDF

Cora Character Timeline in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Cora appears in Signs Preceding the End of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Earth
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
...old man] on his way to hell” before going on with the task her mother Cora had given her: to deliver her brother a paper. As usual, Cora embraced Makina and... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...where he is reading the newspaper. He offers her a beer and they chat about Cora, who once sheltered Mr. Double-U when he “was on the run” and remains in his... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
...her. She knows he wants a favor in return and remembers his fraught relationship with Cora, and that there must be a good reason she does not know the details. Aitch... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Place Where the Hills Meet
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
...on the trail.” When Chucho turns his back to walk toward the door, Makina hides Cora’s note and Mr. Aitch’s package in her jacket. (full context)
Chapter 6: The Place Where Flags Wave
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...the restaurant where he works and introduces her to a woman who reminds Makina of Cora. The woman explains that she cared for Makina’s brother when he first arrived a year... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Place Where People’s Hearts Are Eaten
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
...outside and “walk awhile in silence.” He asks about her search for him and about Cora. Instead of passing along Cora’s message, Makina asks her brother about the land they claimed. (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...for her journey back. He hugs her and asks her to send a kiss to Cora, but his nonchalant way of doing so makes Makina feel like “he [is] ripping out... (full context)