Part 2 serves as a continuation of the first blog post I wrote about earlier. There is just so much room for interpretation, analyzation, and unpacking that I decided to break it apart and continue it here. So, enjoy!
Today, it is not surprising that so much racism and oppression still occurs since a pattern in history repeats. Though unfortunate, the political climate in our world still remains divisive.
Many marginalized groups have been taken advantage of in the past, and N.K. Jemisin speaks to that while writing about the Thniess. On page 262, Gallat explains that Syl Anagist is fueled by the Thniess. It states, “the fragments could not have begun the generation of magic on their own, decades ago when they were first grown. Nonliving, inorganic things like crystal are inert to magic. Therefore, in order to help the fragments initiate the generative cycle, raw magic must be used as a catalyst.” When Gallat was explaining this, Howah realizes that Kelenli was alluding to the reveal that the people who generate the power were actually the Niess. The text states, “we’re going to see them, Kelenli told me, when I asked her where the Niess were.” He takes a look around and finds that the niess people were motionless despite the thicket of vines, and he observes that they do not feel pain because the “skinlines take all the magic of life from them [and] save the bare trickle needed to keep them alive.” He also realizes that, “keeping them alive keeps them generating more.” So, in reading this, I realized that the empire of Syl Anagist needed the systematic oppression of the Niess in order to survive and power its structure in place.
But, what surprised me the most was that the Niess people were being kept unconscious in unbearable suffering in the ‘Briar Patch’. I know we researched what ‘briar patch’ was in class, but I was still a little confused about it. First, I came across the wikipedia site which stated that briar patch could be defined as, “the common name for a thicket formed by any of a number of unrelated thorny plants.” But, I was also directed towards a page by abelard.org that summarized Joel Chandler Harris’ Legends of the Old Plantation, which stated, “Whatever you do,” cried Brer Rabbit, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch.” As I was reading my peers’ blog posts, I used Sabrina Chan’s post to help me understand that, “In the Tar-Baby story, Br’er Rabbit’s natural adversary Br’er Fox makes a “Tar-Baby” using a lump of tar and some clothes then jumps into hiding” (Chan 1). Chan further explains that Br’er Rabbit becomes stuck in the tar as a result of the anger he attacked the tar-baby with. It is then when Bre’er Rabbit pleads Br’er Fox that he not put him to the briar patch. But, “the oblivious Br’er Fox does not know that rabbits commonly use thickets for shelter and protection from predators, thus allowing Br’er Rabbit to escape among the briar patch’s thorns and briars” (Chan 1). A sneaky but indirect connection to Hoa. In the text, it states, “the briar patch’s victims have been here for years. Decades. There are hundreds of them in view, and thousands more out of sight if the sinkline thicket extends all the way around the amethyst’s base. Millions, when multiplied by two hundred and fifty-six” (Jemisin 263). Hao introduces the briar patch to the story, symbolizing it as a place where humanity is killed, and reinstated into the world as slaves. Reasoning included, “better the earth, Syl Anagist reasons. Better to enslave a great inanimate object that cannot feel pain and will not object. Better geoarcanity” (Jemisin 334). The oppression began with the Thniess, but did not end with orogenes and stone eaters. Because, once again, “Syl Anagist is built on delusions, and we are the products of lies” (Jemisin 212).
Be kind to one another.