Essun’s Personal Rifting: Fractures in Identity

Amidst the many shocking revelations of The Fifth Season, we came to know our singular protagonist by three names: Damaya, Syenite, and Essun. Since then, the identities of various characters have undergone shifts, some voluntary, some not.  Schaffa and Hoa, too, shift (and Tonkee, though Essun notices that she is in many ways still the same ol’ Binof). Again, I will be drawing on psychologist Robert Jay Lifton’s work in The Protean Self, this time to explore the ways in which this fracturing, this fluidity of self, can be adaptive or regressive. Continue reading “Essun’s Personal Rifting: Fractures in Identity”

What Can Or Cannot Be Maintained

Having been a little invested with the parallels of our world and with that of Jemison’s, I’ve been the most fascinated by the environmental distinctions. While they are rather different in the plains of reality and tangibility – they draw upon similarities in regards to natural disasters and the occasional indignities via the lovely human race. Much emphasis on lovely.

My primarily thoughts as of this moment pertain to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that my group has been been working on. Admittedly I was rather aloof upon the initial delving of tsunamis, and particularly that of a country that I’ve never seen or had the interest in ever seeing. While I am of course empathetic towards tragedy via natural disasters and those who become affected by them. It has and still is a tragic focal point when furthering discussion on the environment, yet it is one of the very raw parallels that fascinate me when considering Jemison’s fictional world and how far off of reality it is, yet at the same time it is not much different when considering the indignities of a damaged world. The circumstances are by no means comparable, yet considering so many lives being easily taken away due to natural disasters (with California being a recent instance), regarding the hundreds of lives lost back in Indonesia is in a similar vein to the destructive power we have become witnesses to in the literature we’ve been reading (pg. 384 in case you wish to skip this next paragraph).

One passage pertains to how much the world – or in this case, the Obelisk Gate can maintain. The overwhelming amount of history this planet has been accustomed to would have me wonder how much is too much? If not that, how much is this world worth? How capable can it be, and the natural disasters that come with it – how much of a disaster is it really? Before I go on a tangent about world peace and or free coffee, here’s the passage: : “It is a stalemate that cannot continue. The gate cannot maintain its connections forever, and the onyx cannot contain the chaos of the rifting forever – and two human beings how ever-powerful and strong-willed. cannot survive so much magic for long.”

Despite the powers that be via the primary characters, how much can be taken? Could this be no different than the typical college burnout, or with that of how the world may react when a boiling point erupts. As with one particular character who believes in the destruction of the world, one may wonder how valid such a belief can be. The world goes through devastation and brings about devastating consequences, and that is quite daunting. Can there be some notion of balance? Is such a thing tangible sometime in a few decades? Free coffee?

Sylanagistines Taking on the European Burden

“Conquerors live in dread of the day when they are shown to be, not superior, but simply lucky” -N.K. Jemison, The Obelisk Gate.

Just like the Europeans have dominated and controlled most of the eastern and western world, Syl Anagist controlled for a time, most of The Stillness. Continue reading “Sylanagistines Taking on the European Burden”

Heavy Names

Do you know that awkward (maybe infuriating based on frequency) moment when someone mispronounces your name? Or when the Starbucks employee spells “Sabrina” “Sabreena”, “Dominique” becomes “Domanic” or “Melisha” is ‘corrected’ to say “Melissa”? Though these instances are not intentional Jemisin has taught me that misplaced intention should never excuse closer investigation. In The Stone Sky—and throughout Jemisin’s trilogy—where we are reminded that “Names have power” (239) and it is here that Jemisin challenges me to think about the processes of renaming.

(Sorry folks, this is a lengthy one)

Continue reading “Heavy Names”

The Moral Ambiguity of Albus Dumbledore

I would like to preface this post by stating that I have no advance knowledge of the Harry Potter series.  I have read the series once and seen the movies a few times. This makes me in no way an expert on the world of wizards and witchcraft that J.K. Rowling created.  So everything I say is speculation based on my limited knowledge and some research I have done.

I have long since been confused by the hero status that Dumbledore holds in the eyes of many fans.  Many fans praise him and even Rowling herself has defended him against haters describing him as “the epitome of goodness.”  However, Dumbledore was making questionable choices since the beginning and as the series went on I grew considerably more concerned for the children left in his care. Continue reading “The Moral Ambiguity of Albus Dumbledore”

ACEs in the Stillness

The main intersection for our class is between English and the sciences as we take up the familiar cause of creating an integrative experience in education. Geology fits itself into Jemisin’ writing in many ways but serves mostly as a point of conflict although the work of studying the Earth isn’t explicitly the violence being done. The fallout of what the Earth does and the consequences of trying to affect it are things we see very clearly in The Stone Sky as our familiar heroes, Essun and Nassun, move through disaster. We’ve talked a great deal about the world Jemisin’ has built and the people who populate it, but my specific position as an educator has started to lead me towards the roles and actions of children in the the Stillness and how the environment interacts with them outside of the silver threads of magic.

There’s a lot to be said about the raising of children in the Stillness, but what has interested me most is how children develop psychologically. Continue reading “ACEs in the Stillness”

Representation in The Stillness

Representation is an interesting topic that Jemisin clearly implements within The Fifth Season. Within her writing, she makes careful note to include many otherwise ignored groups into her world, presenting these perspectives. In a genre saturated by common perspectives, this presented myself with an interesting lesson to learn of character representation.

Continue reading “Representation in The Stillness”

The De-humanization of Civilization

With all of the atrocities that have been occurring around the world, a question that I find to be at the forefront of human suffering is, do we suppress our emotions and desensitize for the sake of progression, or do we mourn and acknowledge our feelings in order to expedite the progress needed to make changes? In reference to specifically the recent events that have been happening in the U.S., i.e. the mass shooting at the synagogue, the mass shooting at the supermarket, and most recently the mass shooting at the night club, my question to the world is, how am I supposed to react? Do I cover my eyes and shield my emotions from the realities of the world? While that would be the most comfortable thing to do, I would argue that it would be injustice for me to hide from realities that others have no choice but to face at this point.

Continue reading “The De-humanization of Civilization”