Blue Eyes as a Bad Omen

In The Fifth Season, Jemison creates an alternate reality where Father Earth is desperately trying to purge himself of humanity through the use of people with geological powers. Something that I found interesting about this reality is that light blue eyes are a bad omen. Damaya, a young girl who discovers she has these abilities after using them on a classmate who threatened her. Her parents hide her and submit her to the guardians. When she first meets her guardian she reflects that, “she heard of eyes like these, which are called icewhite in stories and stonelore. They’re rare, and always an ill omen.” (29). This is interesting detail for several reasons. First being that today, light eyes—specifically blue eyes– are perceived as desirable. Transforming them into a bad omen defamiliarizes their desirability to the reader. When putting this detail into a historical context, it makes more sense to see blue eyes as a bad omen. Europeans are more likely to have light eyes, and are known for colonizing most of the world. Did the people colonized by Europeans see blue eyes as a bad omen? Blue eyes are also a bad omen when referencing the Holocaust because they were an identifying factor of the aryan race. Hitler viewed light eyes as superior to dark eyes, and many people who did not have this attribute were slaughtered. This leads to me think that Jemison made light eyes an “ill omen” purposefully to shine light on this history. Today, light eyes exist both as an unattainable beauty standard and a painful reminder of colonization for the non-European world.

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