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.
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 trip so many make every day from Mexico to the United States, but also adapts the traditional mythological story of the nine-phase journey to Mictlán, the Aztec underworld. As the novel begins with Makina announcing her own death, it is possible to read her as embodying the traditional archetype of a deceased soul seeking its place in the afterlife, as well as the modern archetype of undocumented migration. At once devoted to fulfilling her assignment and compassionate toward the people she meets throughout her journey, Makina overcomes the challenges she faces with fortitude: she nearly dies numerous times but scarcely bats an eyelash, saving others’ lives but disappearing before they can thank her. Her role as a messenger extends beyond the fact that she delivers a note from her mother Cora to her brother and a package from Mr. Aitch to Mr. P. At home, Makina is in charge of running the Village’s switchboard, which requires her to receive, make, and translate calls in three languages (Spanish, English, and her area’s Indigenous language). Her facility with language in many ways defines her otherwise mysterious personality and even gets her out of tough situations, like when she saves herself and a large group of migrants from a self-declared “patriotic” policeman by writing him a note that holds a mirror to his racism. And yet, despite her ability to connect with and appeal to people from such varied backgrounds and social contexts, Makina maintains an emotional distance from everyone in her life except Cora. This is especially true of men, whose advances she repeatedly fights off in order to retain control of her life, decisions, and identity. Her name is also significant: it is an adaptation of the Indigenous Otomi language term maki, which means “stretched” or “extended.” This points to both her far-reaching journey and her ability to “extend” herself across and among various cultures. But her name also evokes the Spanish word máquina, which means “machine” and gestures to her ruthless, emotionless efficiency, which also parallels Herrera’s pared-down language.

Makina Quotes in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The Signs Preceding the End of the World quotes below are all either spoken by Makina or refer to Makina. 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 1 Quotes

I’m dead, Makina said to herself when everything lurched: a man with a cane was crossing the street, a dull groan suddenly surged through the asphalt, the man stood still as if waiting for someone to repeat the question and then the earth opened up beneath his feet: it swallowed the man, and with him a car and a dog, all the oxygen around and even the screams of passers-by. I’m dead, Makina said to herself, and hardly had she said it than her whole body began to contest that verdict and she flailed her feet frantically backward, each step mere inches from the sinkhole, until the precipice settled into a perfect

circle and Makina was saved.

Slippery bitch of a city, she said to herself. Always about to sink back into the cellar.
The Little Town was riddled with bullet holes and tunnels bored by five centuries of voracious silver lust, and from time to time some poor soul accidentally discovered just what a half-assed job they’d done of covering them over.

Related Characters: Makina
Related Symbols: Underground Spaces
Page Number: 11-2
Explanation and Analysis:

You don’t lift other people’s petticoats.

You don’t stop to wonder about other people’s business.

You don’t decide which messages to deliver and which to let rot.

You are the door, not the one who walks through it.

Related Characters: Makina, Mr. Aitch
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Sometimes they called from nearby villages and she answered them in native tongue or latin tongue. Sometimes, more and more these days, they called from the North; these were the ones who’d often already forgotten the local lingo, so she responded to them in their own new tongue. Makina spoke all three, and knew how to keep quiet in all three, too.

Related Characters: Makina
Related Symbols: The Telephone Switchboard
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

She looked into the mirrors: in front of her was her back: she looked behind but found only the never-ending front, curving forward, as if inviting her to step through its thresholds. If she crossed them all, eventually, after many bends, she’d reach the right place; but it was a place she didn’t trust.

Related Characters: Makina, Mr. Q
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

She couldn’t get lost. Every time she came to the Big Chilango she trod softly, because that was not the place she wanted to leave her mark, and she told herself repeatedly that she couldn’t get lost, and by get lost she meant not a detour or a sidetrack but lost for real, lost forever in the hills of hills cementing the horizon: or lost in the awe of all the living flesh that had built and paid for palaces. That was why she chose to travel underground to the other bus depot. Trains ran around the entire circulatory system but never left the body: down there the heavy air would do her no harm, and she ran no risk of becoming captivated. And she mustn’t get lost or captivated, too many people were waiting for her.

Related Characters: Makina
Related Symbols: Underground Spaces
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Makina turned to him, stared into his eyes so he’d know that her next move was no accident, pressed a finger to her lips, shhhh, eh, and with the other hand yanked the middle finger of the hand he’d touched her with almost all the way back to an inch from the top of his wrist; it took her one second. The adventurer fell to his knees in pain, jammed into the tight space between his seat and the one in front, and opened his mouth to scream, but before the order reached his brain Makina had already insisted, finger to lips, shhhh, eh; she let him get used to the idea that a woman had jacked him up and then whispered, leaning close, I don’t like being pawed by fucking strangers, if you can believe it.

Related Characters: Makina, The Boy from the Bus
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Me? I tell you. I’m gonna start off on the right foot; don’t know if makeup will help but at least no one can say I showed up scruffy, you know?

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
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:

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:
Chapter 4 Quotes

When she reached the top of the saddle between the two mountains it began to snow. Makina had never seen snow before and the first thing that struck her as she stopped to watch the weightless crystals raining down was that something was burning. One came to perch on her eyelashes; it looked like a stack of crosses or the map of a palace, a solid and intricate marvel at any rate, and when it dissolved a few seconds later she wondered how it was that some things in the world—some countries, some people—could seem eternal when everything was actually like that miniature ice palace: one-of-a-kind, precious, fragile. She felt a sudden stab of disappointment but also a slight subsiding of the fear that had been building since she’d versed from home.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

The city was an edgy arrangement of cement particles and yellow paint. Signs prohibiting things thronged the streets, leading citizens to see themselves as ever protected, safe, friendly, innocent, proud, and intermittently bewildered, blithe, and buoyant; salt of the only earth worth knowing. They flourished in supermarkets, cornucopias where you could have more than everyone else or something different or a newer brand or a loaf of bread a little bigger than everyone else’s. Makina just dented cans and sniffed bottles and thought it best to verse, and it was when she saw the anglogaggle at the self-checkouts that she noticed how miserable they looked in front of those little digital screens, and the way they nearly-nearly jumped every time the machine went bleep! at each item. And how on versing out to the street they sought to make amends for their momentary one-up by becoming wooden again so as not to offend anyone.

Related Characters: Makina, Mr. Aitch’s Driver
Page Number: 56-7
Explanation and Analysis:

The stadium loomed before them. So, what do they use that for?
They play, said the old man. Every week the anglos play a game to celebrate who they are. He stopped, raised his cane and fanned the air. One of them whacks it, then sets off like it was a trip around the world, to every one of the bases out there, you know the anglos have bases all over the world, right? Well the one who whacked it runs from one to the next while the others keep taking swings to distract their enemies, and if he doesn’t get caught he makes it home and his people welcome him with open arms and cheering.

Related Characters: The Old Man (speaker), Makina
Page Number: 59-60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

They are homegrown and they are anglo and both things with rabid intensity; with restrained fervor they can be the meekest and at the same time the most querulous of citizens, albeit grumbling under their breath. Their gestures and tastes reveal both ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people. And then they speak. They speak an intermediary tongue that Makina instantly warms to because it’s like her: malleable, erasable, permeable; a hinge pivoting between two like but distant souls, and then two more, and then two more, never exactly the same ones; something that serves as a link.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Using in one tongue the word for a thing in the other makes the attributes of both resound: if you say Give me fire when they say Give me a light, what is not to be learned about fire, light and the act of giving? It’s not another way of saying things: these are new things. The world happening anew, Makina realizes; promising other things, signifying other things, producing different objects. Who knows if they’ll last, who knows if these names will be adopted by all, she thinks, but there they are, doing their damnedest.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Scum, she heard as she climbed the eighth hill from which, she was sure, she’d catch sight other brother. You lookin to get what you deserve, you scum? She opened her eyes. A huge redheaded anglo who stank of tobacco was staring at her. Makina knew the bastard was just itching to kick her or fuck her and got slowly to her feet without taking her eyes off him, because when you turn your back in fear is when you’re at the greatest risk of getting your ass kicked; she opened the door and versed.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

The door opened and there stood a small man with glasses, wrapped in a purple bathrobe. He was black. Never in her life had she seen so many black people up close, and all of a sudden they seemed to be the key to her quest.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

Plus, all families had started off in some mysterious way: to repopulate the earth, or by accident, or by force, or out of boredom; and it’s all a mystery what each will become.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Neither one at first recognized the specter of the other. In fact, Makina stood up, greeted him and began to express her gratitude and ask a question before picking up on the soldier’s uncanny resemblance to her brother and the unmistakable way in which they differed; he had the same sloping forehead and stiff hair, but looked hardier, and more washed-out. In that fraction of a second she realized her mistake, and that this was her brother, but also that that didn’t undo the mistake.

Page Number: 87-8
Explanation and Analysis:

It’s not like in the movies, he said. I know that here everything seems like in the movies, but it’s not like that there. You spend days and days shut in and it’s like nothing’s going on at all and then one day you go out but you don’t know who you’re fighting or where you’re going to find them. And suddenly you hear your homie died that morning and no one saw where the bullet came from, or you come across a bomb nobody saw get thrown, but there it was, waiting for you. So you gotta go look for them. But when you find them they’re not doing jack and you just gotta believe it was them, they were the ones, otherwise you go nuts.

Related Characters: Makina’s Brother (speaker), Makina
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

He’s homegrown, he said. Joined up just like me, but still doesn’t speak the lingo. Whereas me, I learned it, so every time we see each other he wants to practice. He speaks all one day in past tense, all one day in present, all one day in future, so he can learn his verbs. Today was the future.

Related Characters: Makina’s Brother (speaker), Makina
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

1 guess that’s what happens to everybody who comes, he continued. We forget what we came for, but there’s this reflex to act like we still have some secret plan.

Why not leave, then?

Not now. Too late. I already fought for these people. There must be something they fight so hard for. So I’m staying in the army while I figure out what it is.

Related Characters: Makina’s Brother (speaker), Makina
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

We are to blame for this destruction, we who don’t speak your tongue and don’t know how to keep quiet either. We who didn’t come by boat, who dirty up your doorsteps with our dust, who break your barbed wire. We who came to take your jobs, who dream of wiping your shit, who long to work all hours. We who fill your shiny clean streets with the smell of food, who brought you violence you’d never known, who deliver your dope, who deserve to be chained by neck and feet. We who are happy to die for you, what else could we do? We, the ones who are waiting for who knows what. We, the dark, the short, the greasy, the shifty, the fat, the anemic. We the barbarians.

Related Characters: Makina (speaker), The “Patriotic” Policeman
Page Number: 99-100
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:

Makina took the file and looked at its contents. There she was, with another name, another birthplace. Her photo, new numbers, new trade, new home. I’ve been skinned, she whispered.

When she looked up the man was no longer there and she tipped briefly into panic, she felt for a second—or for many seconds; she couldn’t tell because she didn’t have a watch, nobody had a watch—that the turmoil of so many new things crowding in on the old ones was more than she could take; but a second—or many—later she stopped feeling the weight of uncertainty and guilt; she thought back to her people as though recalling the contours of a lovely landscape that was now fading away: the Village, the Little Town, the Big Chilango, all those colors, and she saw that what was happening was not a cataclysm; she understood with all of her body and all of her memory, she truly understood, and when everything in the world fell silent finally said to herself I’m ready.

Related Characters: Makina
Page Number: 106-7
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

Makina Character Timeline in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The timeline below shows where the character Makina 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
Makina tells herself that she is dead—a sinkhole has just opened up in the street and... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Following Makina’s “longing for water,” she visits Mr. Double-U at the baths, passing the “proud, sanguine” sentry... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Makina then goes to visit Mr. Aitch. His guard once courted Makina, but reportedly murdered a... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Makina asks Aitch where to find her brother and confirms that she is “gonna cross.” Aitch... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
“You don’t stop to wonder about other people’s business,” Makina believes, which is “why she was respected in the Village.” She operates the Village’s only... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Makina then goes to visit Mr. Q at his restaurant, Casino. She used to shuttle messages... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina approaches Mr. Q, who always wears all black. He silently gestures for her to sit,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Water Crossing
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Whenever she visits “the Big Chilango,” Makina travels underground, by the subway trains. Otherwise she risks “get[ting] lost or captivated” in the... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Makina also has a boyfriend of sorts—although “they’d never discussed it, […] he act[s] so much... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Three years before Makina’s journey, “one of Mr. Aitch’s thugs” convinced her brother “that they owned a little piece... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
As Makina waits to buy a bus ticket, two young men harass her. They take the same... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
In the night, Makina wakes up while the rest of the bus passengers sleep. She suspects “she’d dreamed of... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...until “the bus reache[s] the end of the land, at almost midnight the following day.” Makina checks into one of the cheap hotels lining the river, and enters “a very sizeable... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Makina spends the night awake, like so many others “waiting for their contact,” and advises fellow... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
At sunrise, Makina sits on the riverbank and notices a man waving a light. She realizes that the... (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... (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... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Makina remembers when “one of the first to strike it rich after going north” returned to... (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... (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... (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 not caught... (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... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
“Rucksacks,” the narrator wonders, “what do people whose life stops here take with them?” For Makina, people’s rucksacks are “crammed with time” and full of things that help them remember: “amulets,... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Obsidian Mound
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina gets to the pass between the two mountains, where it is snowing. It is her... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Beyond the mountains, Makina meets Mr. Aitch’s man with the truck. They do not talk during the journey, and... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
The city Makina reaches is full of “signs prohibiting things,” which appear intended for “citizens to see themselves... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina takes out Mr. Aitch’s package and shows it to the driver, but he insists that... (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
The old man begins to tell Makina about her brother, who is “alive and kicking,” but “changed.” Makina’s brother also helped Mr.... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
The man whistles and walks off. A kid directs Makina to walk down a long hallway, “toward the light.” At the end, she sees “two... (full context)
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Mr. P, who constantly pats the knife that hangs off his belt. He takes Makina’s package, tells his associates that “we’re cool,” in anglo tongue, and then propositions that Makina... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Place Where the Wind Cuts like a Knife
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...grievances, “ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people,” Spanish and English, they remind Makina of her own “intermediary,” “malleable, erasable, permeable” self. Like her, they are “something that serves... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
The address the old man gave Makina names another city, but there is no gap between that one and the one Makina... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina’s brother had sent “two or three messages” back home. In the first he reported that... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Makina’s journey is taxing: she has to figure out how to pronounce the address, “to cleave... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Makina arrives to find “sheer emptiness”: machines are digging a hole under whatever used to be... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Place Where Flags Wave
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
 “A huge redheaded anglo” harasses Makina on “the eighth hill.” She has been asking “anybody she hear[s] speaking latin tongue” if... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Makina meets the boy whose finger she nearly broke on the bus. He brings her inside... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Leaving the boy from the bus behind, Makina runs to the address the woman gave her. She encounters a large pink house, and... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
Makina contemplates the meaning of “Family,” something never as happy in real life as it is... (full context)
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Family, Heritage, and Sense of Self Theme Icon
En route to the army base, Makina sees a crowd of rainbow flag-toting same-sex couples celebrating their weddings on the steps of... (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
Waiting to enter the military base, Makina realizes she has no good options if her brother turns out to be dead or... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Makina’s brother tells Makina “an incredible story.” A woman employed him to “save” her family by... (full context)
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
Makina’s brother “felt an unspeakable fear” when he shipped out for the war, which he reluctantly... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
As Makina’s brother walks with her, they meet another soldier who briefly describes his previous night at... (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
Makina’s brother now has “money and a new name, but no clue what to do.” Like... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Snake that Lies in Wait
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Soon after Makina sets out from the barracks, “a horribly pasty policeman” runs into her and makes her... (full context)
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Makina grabs the man’s paper and pencil, confusing the policeman, and then writes for a long... (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
Makina walks persistently, pushing herself forward despite not knowing how or when she will make it... (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 [her] a... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
“A tall, thin man draped in a baggy leather jacket” brings Makina a file with her photo but a totally new identity: a new name, phone number,... (full context)