Contemporary Relevance

Some Realities of Assimilation and Multiculturalism


Throughout the novel, Makina– and consequently the reader– feels a sense of displacement, especially when she enters the north. Though foreign territory, she describes it as oddly familiar, and talks of how there are people there like her, hybrids, and anglos. This sense of blending can be credited to the assimilation expected to take place when one immigrates to America– despite it being a “melting pot,” that is supposed to be a hub for multiculturalism. Instead, Makina is left confused and empty. The most notable instance of assimilation in the novel is how Makina and her brother both assume an American identity and are expected to forgo theirs entirely.This article discusses multiculturalism born of immigration, and the way we navigate racial perceptions consequently. He explores what blended and merging boundaries will look like for America, and how in the past, radical boundary shifts have claimed outsiders, like Italians and Jewish people, as part of the ethnic and racial majority.

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Family Separation at the US/Mexico Border


There is a crisis at the border– though it isn’t what the administration is deeming. Families are being separated at rates higher than ever and we’ve seen the images circulating of children being held in cages and treated as subhuman. While Makina wasn’t apprehended during the novel, it was clear that her life was in danger while crossing the border, and had she no help, the novel would have taken a twist even more grim. The only time the novel really slows down is during her time of waiting at the border, where we catch a glimpse– though certainly not a full picture– of the conditions surrounding crossing.

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An Interactive Look at the Current US/Mexico Border


In Signs Preceding the End of the World, Makina crosses the border by way of a dangerous river. Here, amidst the talk of “building a wall,”  you can see the US/Mexico Border in its entirety via interactive map, arial footage, video, and pictures. Click on the videos for detailed descriptions of current issues each barrier is facing and understand, better, the journeys many Mexican immigrants make to fulfill their dreams in America.

Read the full story here.

Signs Preceding the End of the World’s Homepage

Zoe James-Collins ’19

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