Last Wishes

After ending her trilogy, Jemison tells the reader of her mother’s death, by explaining, “mom had a difficult last few years” (416). This revelation made me think of the distant but protective relationship between Nassun and Essun throughout the book.

The first thing that came to my mind was how, no matter how far away they are from each other, they can still identify one another’s orogeny. They spend the whole duration of The Stone Sky living separate lives. Shortly after Essun wakes from her coma, or what Hoa would call “periods of half waking and half sleeping” (11), she begins to remember locating Nassun while opening the gate. She confides in Tonkee, “‘Nassun. I know where she is” (22), and exclaims, “‘I have to go find her”‘ (23).

On the other hand, Nassun knows immediately that it is her mother who opens the Obelisk Gate in Castrima. She also learns about Essun through Steel, who tells her, “‘She knows where you are now. The Gate told her”‘ (95), to which Nassun responds, “‘I’m not in Jekity anymore anyway. And soon she won’t have the Gate, either, so she won’t be able to find me again”. Nassun’s knowledge that her mother won’t be able to open the Gate for long shows her knowledge that her mother is dying.

It seems that Jemisin also knew her mother was dying from what she wrote in her Acknowledgements, “on some level I suspected her death was coming” (416). This creates a similarity between her and Nassun. Nassun could even be an embodiment of some of the conflicting feelings Jemisin may have had while confronted with the imminent mortality of a loved one. Nassun resists seeing her mother, as shown with her conversation with steel where she said “so she won’t be able to find me again” (95). However, it reveals itself that Nassun still loves her mother in the very end, when she decides to bring back the moon—as her mother would have wanted.

At the end of her Acknowledgement section, Jemisin tells the reader, “You’ve been taking this journey with me, and you’re always going to get the best of what I’ve got. That is what my mother would want” (416). This draws another parallel between Jemisin and Nassun because they both do what they feel their mothers would have wanted. For Nassun, this meant hope. She had planned to end the world as she knew it, but instead, restored the moon’s place in orbit around the earth, giving humanity hope for survival. Jemisin’s determination to finish The Stone Sky on time while maintaining her high standards shows her resilience. This resilience is mirrored in Orogenes like Essun and Nassun, who despite hardship, chose to believe in humanity and bring peace to Father Earth.

Jemisin reflects, “Where there is pain in this book, it’s real pain; where there is anger, it’s real anger; where there is love, it’s real love” (416).  The love she alludes to weaves itself like lines of silver through her novel. It is Schaffa’s confusing love for Damaya, Syenite and Alabaster’s love for Innon and Corundum, Hoa’s love for Essun, Schaffa’s love for Nassun, Essun and Nassun’s complicated love for each other, and ultimately, the love that compels them to save the world. This love equates itself to hope and allows the precious threads of silver life to regenerate and grow into a world without seasons.

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