Signs Preceding the End of the World

by

Yuri Herrera

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The Anglo Family Character Analysis

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 woman sent Makina’s brother to work for the anglo family—in fact, what they wanted was someone to ship out to war in place of their son, who hastily signed up for the Army and could not undo his decision. Because Makina’s brother is vulnerable and has no papers, the family convinces him to pose as their son and go off to war. Believing he will die, the family promises him their son’s identity and a large sum of money they assume they will never have to deliver. When Makina’s brother survives and returns from the war, the family is divided over whether or not to follow through on their promise—they ultimately give him some money (far less than promised) and let him keep their son’s identity. This family’s treatment of Makina’s brother is an allegory for the devil’s bargain of joining American society as a person of color: one must both endure racist discrimination and work tirelessly, even risking one’s life, on behalf of prejudiced people. It is also a reference to the American government’s discrimination and pressures against poor and minority groups. Because the poor have no economic options or stability, they can be easily persuaded into signing up to defend American imperial interests abroad. Military service replaces the welfare state: like for so many poor Americans, for Makina’s brother, the Army is his only opportunity at advancement in society—regardless of whether he agrees with its imperialist goals.

The Anglo Family Quotes in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The Signs Preceding the End of the World quotes below are all either spoken by The Anglo Family or refer to The Anglo Family . 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 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:
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The Anglo Family Character Timeline in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The timeline below shows where the character The Anglo Family appears in Signs Preceding the End of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Place Where Flags Wave
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
...expected. But he and Makina soon end up laughing together, until he informs her that the house’s old occupants have “moved. To another continent.” Convinced “she wouldn’t be able to verse from this one... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Place Where People’s Hearts Are Eaten
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 “help[ing]” her “bad-tempered” son. This son was of a similar age as Makina’s brother,... (full context)
Racism, Inequality, and Social Change Theme Icon
...brother never got hurt, and after a few months he returned to the house of the family who sent him there. They were “astonished to see him there,” because they assumed they... (full context)