I’ve spent the last month trying to keep my life in order (e.g. homework, my own life problems, etc.) and failing. This is hard for me to admit because I’ve always been the person who knew what she was doing. If I didn’t, I was able to stumble along without anyone noticing. Now, here I am at the end of my first semester in college and I have no idea what I’m doing, how to get where I’m going, or even where that even is. I’m tired. I’m burned out. I’m almost done (for a little while.) And, here I am, trying to claw my way to end of this semester.
In these times of what feels like utter despair, I look for two types of people: someone who has seemed to keep it together while in a similar situation, and someone who can comfort me and remind me from afar to take a break, take a nap, or eat some food.
So what? I’m just like every college student toward the end of a semester. What does this have to do with anything in our class discussion?
I’ve noticed that The Broken Earth’s main character, Essun, also gets burned out. In a completely different way, of course, but burned out nonetheless. After Uche dies, and she hasn’t moved for a few days, Lerna (a rusting superhero, if you ask me, but that’s for another potential blog post) forces Essun off the floor, makes her eat something, and then helps her take care of the unimaginable task of taking care of her dead son (The Fifth Season, 17-18).
Although it wasn’t said at the time, Alabaster’s past occurrences with his children may have been a type of role model for Essun while she grieved her children. Alabaster had children taken away and used as node maintainers, a life without any self-control (The Fifth Season, 141). Essun may have remembered how he reacted to seeing one of his children at the node station while she was still Syenite.
All in all, Essun had what I would look for in a troubling time, and even if she failed (big time) to keep her life in order, she had two good friends, and two of my favorite characters, to keep her going.