Steel’s conversation with Nassun about living forever, helped me understand why Steel, a stone eater wanted Nassun, an orogene to destroy the world. It wasn’t because he is naturally evil, and wants the world to suffer. He has nothing to live for, it’s a selfish wish, that can only be- for that reason Nassun and Steel are similar. Steel is not naturally cruel, just in pain, and living forever is the cause.
Nassun’s desire to turn all of humanity into stone eaters shows that she still has hope. She will not let Schaffa die. She thinks of all the good that could come with a world occupied by stone eaters, thinking “If everyone is a stone eater, there will be no more orogenes and stills. No more children to die, no more fathers to murder them… No one would starve to death ever again… would that not be a kindness?”(304). Is it a kindness to force an unwanted fate upon all human beings? Life isn’t meant to last an eternity. Eventually, there is nothing left to live for, even for a stone eater. Steel knows this well. So When Nassun tells him her plan, he asks her to, “Imagine being lonely forever.”(Jemisin 306). Nassun knows how loneliness feels, having never felt loved until she met Schaffa. Steel knows that the harsh irony of living forever is endless experience of death he has to witness. Steel describes this as, “Losing the things that ordinary people need to be happy…Watching everyone you know and care about die. Watching your home die, and having to find a new one- again, and again, and again.”( Jemisin 306) Turning people into stone eaters would give them everlasting life, but their humanity would be dead.
Furthermore, if Nassun saved Schaffa’s life she would most likely be killed, leaving him with nothing to live for. Steel explains about Schaffa, “You make him happy. You keep him human”(Jemisin 306). Steel has thousands of years of wisdom. He tells her, “Think with something more than the selfishness of a child.”(Jemisin 308) Nassun can’t understand, “The words are like gibberish that the vehimal spoke- almost comprehensible, but not really. Not real.”( Jemisin 307) It’s a hard stone to swallow, knowing that there is nothing to be done to save a her loved one. (Schaffa)
Surviving in this apocalyptic world is easy for Steel. Unlike, the wee mortals, he doesn’t have to worry about the next season. For stone eaters to have meaningful lives, they have to remember their humanity as much as possible. So stone eaters find an orogene to befriend,in order to preserve their souls. Nassun can’t see past her own wants and emotions. She needs Schaffa to live, but Schaffa can’t truly live without her. Neither of them want to be alone. Steel has no hope left. He has nothing to keep him from turning into a stone cold monster. “You achieve nothing by keeping any of us alive, except cruelty. Put us broken monsters out of our misery”( Jemisin 309). Steel shows us that time can heal wounds but it can also allows them fester.