Power in Details

While reading the Syl Anagist sections of The Stone Sky, we are introduced to six tuners. These tuners were created to be emotionless and inhuman.  They were to function in a way that we use tools. Ironically, they are all amazingly human despite there caste in life. The characters are fully fleshed out; finely tuned beings. I’ve been learned that there are no small parts in Jemisin’s novels.

 Hoa’s description of Gaewha, Kelenli, Remwha, Dushwha, Bimniwha, Salewha, portrays a  band of misfits. Their “field excursion” into Syl Anagist reveals that even though their creators tried to dehumanize them, their plan backfired. The tuners are taken out into Syl Anagist and begin to explore the outside world. Their quirky behaviors are described.  Their peculiar reactions and childlike curiosities give us empathy toward them. I loved reading the paragraph about their reactions to a sleepover. “Gaewha sends little pulses of delight through the ambient, while Remwha is a steady buzz of pleasure. Dushwha and Bimniwha spike now and again with anxiety” (Jemisin 212). They also react to being in the garden as “lost in sensation and reaction”(Jemisin 205). Gaewha protects  her freshly cut flowers, while “Dushwha spins in circles, laughing deliriously.” Bimniwha is annoying a guard and Salewha and Remwha, are trying to answer the age-old debate, is it a frog or a fish? All of them are full of glee as they discover a world that was hidden from them. These remarkable creatures become foils to the otherwise depressing chapters.

We see each tuner as an individual, which contradicts their creators’ intentions. Tuners were created to be unfeeling statues, Inanimate objects that couldn’t and wouldn’t make demands for themselves. As Hoa shares the details about the tuners, he reveals his own rebellious thoughts. Hoa said, “They made me, but they do not control me”(Jemisin 214). He chooses the tuners as subjects of his story to prove that they are human and deserving of life and dignity. He concludes that one group of humans should never decide which other human group has value.  That kind of thinking leads to atrocities of human rights like genocide, or slavery. An example of this from The Stone Sky is the tragedy of Niess. Kelenli explains “…Niess sessapinae were fundamentally different,”  which led people to think they are “ not the same kind of human as everyone else”.(Jemisin 210) Which evolved to, “not as human as everyone else.” and eventually they were “not human at all.” (Jemisin 210).

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