A Commentary on Childhood

In a previous post I touch on the topic of consent, but it wasn’t the main point of the post and at the time I hadn’t even considered that aspect to what I was talking about until Dr. McCoy brought it up.  What Dr. McCoy said that really stood out to me and got me thinking was “the issue of childhood being a non-consensual experience.” I hadn’t ever thought of it that way. As a society, we have always seen child-rearing and in general, the way we treat children as doing what’s best for them and looking out for their best interest.  We never consider that we as the adults are taking all choice away from children.

Although Essun is the protagonist of the series, the entire plot of the series heavy relies on the sacrifices of children.  During the chapters focused on Damaya, her and the other orogene children were forced to leave everything the knew behind and adhere to the rules that the Fulcrum laid out form them.  They had to obey or else they would be forced to become node maintainers. They were boxed in at the Fulcrum. They only knew what the Fulcrum taught them and they only saw what the Fulcrum wanted them to see.  People like Schaffa manipulated these abandoned and naive children. They took advantage of their of their vulnerable state and molded them to be the soldiers that they needed. There is also Nassun’s contribution to the story.    She quickly has to shed her childhood and her innocence in order to survive. She is forced to grow up immediately and take on responsibilities for “the greater good.” At the tender age of (I believe) 13, she has to sacrifice all that she holds dear in order to end the Season and save the world.  Children play such a huge role in this series and I believe that there is a two-part reason for this.

Part one is Jemisin is commentating on how we treat children.  We take all choice away from them and force them to conform to what we want to believe and look like.  From day one children don’t get a choice. Every part of their lives is controlled and schedule. Even more so now with common core and the shift in how we teach children.  Instead of letting them play and learn in a more interactive and fun way, teachers, even in kindergarten, are teaching with worksheets and lectures. What word do children hear most often: no.  As children get older their creativity and in some cases a sense of individuality is taken away from them. They are forced into a mold of what adults expect them to be. Even in their teen years when they’re trying to discover themselves, adults describe them as rebellious and ungrateful.

Part two is an extension of the first idea.  Although children are small and naive to certain ways and how the world works, they are still capable of making their own decisions and making good decisions.  We look at the movements going on right now, especially the one for gun restrictions. That is being led by kids. Though in a first world country they shouldn’t have to deal with these things, they are forced to do so and many a stepping up and trying to take control of their fate.  When given the chance kids prove that they are able to think for themselves and make good decisions. There is a trend on the internet called unpopular opinions where people like to post as it says their unpopular opinion and try and get validation. Possibly minus the validation part, Jemisin’s entire series is basically a long tweet expressing her unpopular opinions and she is subtweeting at society to wake the rust up and see the oppression that is happening.

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