Obelisks, Stone Eaters, and Lorists: The Many Faces of the Archive (Part One of Two)

There is an order to life in the Stillness*

There is also a continuity. It is difficult for a society to prioritize the preservation of history when the preservation of life itself is such an immediate concern. Yet Hoa’s early assertion that “much of history is unwritten” (The Fifth Season 3) is laden with far more meaning than we could fathom when first starting the series. In my group’s blog post on the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, Japan, we discussed how art professor Jave Yoshimoto’s documentation of the tragedy in the form of a 30-foot wood carving related to Yaetr Innovator Dibars’ rejected research on Seasons for Seventh University. But the histories recorded in the Sanze universities, and those taught in creche, represent a tiny fraction of the massive banks of memory spread throughout the Stillness in different, less conventional forms. Obelisks, Stone Eaters, and Lorists all serve to preserve pieces of the great history of humankind. They are the unsung archives of Jemisin’s world.

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Essun raised Nassun in a rather forward, non-conventional way in the sense that if Nassun wanted something she should not wait for others to act first, but solely rely on herself. In recollection, in The Obelisk Gate, Nassun remembers that “there has never been anyone to save Nassun. Her mother warned her there never would be if Nassun ever wants to be free of fear, she has no choice but to forge that freedom for herself” (385). In subtle reference to my last post, Imprisonment :/, I love the proactive nature Essun has instilled into Nassun.

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Throughline Through Rocks

While many of us try to put forth a final effort in fulfilling the remaining posts, I’d be lying if I felt super confident when conceiving the building blocks for the reflective essay today. The benefits of starting now are sure to be a blessing for brainstorming. The brainstorming also gives way for me to look at some of my earliest notes – as far back as the visit to the ISC building. It’s been a while since I’ve remembered how fondly the Welles building felt in late August, and even more of a while since I’ve looked at rocks for class. Geodes forever, right?

As for the ISC, I’m looking back and noting the “geological mind” aspect of minerals and sedimentary material that makes up a great deal of the great rock, and noting the previous depth of ones whom consume rocks and things that erode really give a shape as to what may come together. Would it be fair to consider this assignment as a means of heavy erosion, development, and a thorough representation of the rocks we have been musing on? I’m especially referring to the rock paper we were given so long ago (to which I still have mine, actually). I remember writing down the line from the professor speaking with us: “There’s constant recycling, and the rocks are persistent.” While the ties in whatever we may be writing about or the context of our literature need not be exclusively tied to geology, their similarities speak a great deal of things when revisiting the parallel designs of our world and that of the fictional one we’ve been acquainted with.

Seeing a number of these fascinating images of the world may not encourage me to become a geologist anytime soon, but the assimilation of the world around us may be no different than assimilating our own material into a profound piece that concludes all that we’ve studied so far. Just a thought.

You Are Your Own Person

I believe that one of the most unfair parts of life, considering both reality and the world that resides in N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy, is generalization and the misleading, overarching idea that one individual can represent others as long as both parties can be remotely categorized into the same group. In the prologue of The Fifth Season, in reference to who I am assuming is Father Earth and a stone eater (because it does not explicitly say), it says, “She often treats him as though he represents his whole species. He does the same to her.” (The Fifth Season, 6) This line sets the scene quite well for the rest of the trilogy, because it emphasizes a very real and unfortunate phenomenon that is visible in both the way orogenes and other minorities are treated in The Stillness as well as how minorities are sometimes treated in our own society. Continue reading “You Are Your Own Person”

Coming To Terms With An Unconventional Narrator

A big question that I wrestled with throughout this series was how reliable is our narrator? It was something I struggled with more in The Fifth Season more than any of the other books because, up until the end, we did not know who the narrator was. At first he seemed unreliable because he had information he was deliberately not sharing with us, talking about obelisks in the prologue he says that they’re “blurring now and again as if they are not quite real-though this may only be a trick of the light. (It isn’t)” (Jemisin, The Fifth Season, 8). And he does this again when in the scene where Alabaster creates the rift, “When she turns to the manslowly; stone eaters are slow aboveground, except for when they aren’t” (Jemisin, The Fifth Season, 6). It is all apart of Jemisin’s style of course, she deliberately withholds information from us for a bigger payoff later when it all seemingly comes together. However, because this is her style I was very vary of Hoa for a long time.

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By Abby “Opal” Ritz and Helen “Azurite” Warfle

On the first day of class, Professor McCoy asked us what our favorite rock was. Now that the semester is almost over and we have a more advanced knowledge of geology, we have decided to come back to this and give everyone a description of their rocks and note whether or not they are significant in the Broken Earth trilogy. It is clear that in the beginning of the semester, none of us knew the difference between a rock and a mineral as most people chose minerals, except for those who chose igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, granite, slate, and shale (good job lads, you rock 😉 ).   Continue reading “WHAT’S THAT ROCK?”

Magic Systems: The Restricted Section

Thinking about world-building and the different components necessary to flesh out a story before the actual drafting process begins brought me to the concept of magic systems. In The Broken Earth, orogenes’ magic system relies on energy within the earth or, as we eventually realize, on the “magic” which exists within all living things. But what makes a magic system successful? Is it the scope? Or is it the rules and limitations which inhibit the system?

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The Benefits of Collaborative Work

When Dr. McCoy assessed my group’s collaborative blog post, she asked how we accomplished working together and being able to formulate our thoughts as a group. I’ll admit I am usually skeptical about group projects: I like to work on my own. However, I think that working with my group on this blog post opened my eyes to the rewards of being able to not just discuss texts with other people, but to be able to put this analysis in writing in the form of a group blog post. I think my group members worked off of each other to build a strong analysis of the catastrophe we wrote about, the impact it had on society, and how this related to Jemisin’s trilogy. Continue reading “The Benefits of Collaborative Work”

Forming an Identity

Coming into my final blog post of the semester I was unsure of what I wanted to write about. For most of my previous blog posts I had a general idea either from a class period or from something I thought about while reading of what I wanted my blog post to be about. This final post came in the moment as I was listening to music while doing work and happened to be listening to a song called “Chum” by one of my favorite rappers, Earl Sweatshirt. Listening to this song clarified something I had been thinking about in The Broken Earth Trilogy since we started reading The Fifth Season.  Continue reading “Forming an Identity”