Signs Preceding the End of the World

by

Yuri Herrera

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The Big Chilango Term Analysis

Mexico City, Mexico’s capital and by far its largest city. “Chilango” is a slang term for someone or something from Mexico City.

The Big Chilango 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 Big Chilango or refer to The Big Chilango. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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:
Chapter 9 Quotes

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:
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The Big Chilango Term Timeline in Signs Preceding the End of the World

The timeline below shows where the term The Big Chilango 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
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”... (full context)
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...bed the day of the elections, and after he went to and came back from the Big Chilango , they started sleeping together every weekend. When it seemed like he wanted to talk... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Obsidian Place with No Windows or Holes for the Smoke
Immigration, Myth, and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...remembers her old life that is “now fading away: the Village, the Little Town and the Big Chilango .” She grows to understand that this is all “not a cataclysm.” As “everything in... (full context)