Blackness, Justice, and Love

Throughout the semester we were to think about how the title of the course connects with the course content. “Blackness” was easy. Most of the characters were black, but their blackness did not define them. This was a nice change, I think from traditional postcolonial literature that I usually encountered and studied during my time in undergrad. I mean this in the sense that the characters were so multidimensional that having dark skin was just an adjective and not a character defining trait.

“Justice” and “Love” were a little harder to get at because they required deeper thought and further reading. I’m going to discuss where we need to determine whether a character’s actions were justified. For instance, Alabaster murdered thousands of people by creating the rifting that started the final season, but he did it to help the people of the future and hopefully end the dystopian present. Was he just in his actions? I’d say that’s a pretty big gray area. He’s killing today for the better hope of tomorrow. Another example is when Nassun killed Jija. Sure Jija was awful by the end of his story, but he was just perpetuating the beliefs of time onto Nassun. But was it up to Nassun to be his executioner? Probably because otherwise, she might’ve shared the same fate as her brother, Uche. I think the point about justice being served or obtained is up to perspective and reflection upon actions taken. What will have the least amount of negative consequences and what will help society the most in the end, which is where love comes in.

Hoa clearly loves Essun and only does what is in her best interest. He narrates the story in a way that mostly puts aside his personal biases and will inform Essun of everything that she ~probably~ should know about her life and what happened to get her to current self. Alabaster destroyed the node maintainers (his children) because it was the right thing to do out of his love for them. Essun relinquishes her grip on the Obelisk Gate in order to let her only living child continue to live out of love for her. Each of the major relationships in the Broken Earth series reflects love in some way shape or form at some point.

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