The other day I read about an Icelandic fishing village named Vestmannaeyjar and their fateful fight with their local volcano 1973. Immediately I thought of parallels with this event and the Broken Earth Trilogy. In both situations, homes are destroyed but with different outcomes.
I’ve been thinking about how a character, such as Essun, would feel about the phrase “home is where the heart is”. Would she say, “Location! Location! Location?” Or would she say there is more to finding a “home sweet home” than that?
The explosion of the volcano at Vestmannaeyjar woke the townspeople during the night, They panicked and fled to their fishing boats to escape the lava flow and ash. However, some brave people stayed behind to stop the lava flow from reaching and destroying their beloved harbor. Local firefighters gathered their hoses and sprayed the viscous flow with water in order to harden the lava, thus stopping its flowing destruction. Oddly enough, they succeeded. After five months of erupting, the volcano finally quelled and the majority of the occupants moved back. Unfortunately, their homes were buried in volcanic ash so they had to dig their houses out from underneath. Furthermore, they decided to share their neighborhood with an active volcano, knowing this disaster might happen again.
The Castrimans were not that lucky. Home for them had to be where their heart was because their “location” was destroyed by Essun. In her attempt to save the orogene from the stone eaters, she damaged the inner working of the geode. Because their hearts were with Ykka and each other, the Castrimans were determined to preserve their community, even when they were forced to relocate. They decided to stay together and trekked miles of apocalyptic landscapes. Many died, but shared hardships made their bond stronger. For example, Essun ’s growing love of the Castrimans gave her the strength to sacrifice herself for her community and the world. Pico Iyer, a British novelist, once said “Home… is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.” For Essun, her birthplace was not her home nor was the Fulcrum or Tirimo. Castrima was her home because she chose it. She let go of her emotional runny-sack and allowed herself to form relationships with those around her.
Through this thinking process, I can definitely say, no matter how cheesy it sounds, that Essun would believe “home is where the heart is”. If Essun’s heart had not found home she would not have saved the world.