Throughout the Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, the idea of finding Nassun kept Essun from giving up and gave her a reason to live. Nassun never left her mother thoughts, in her mind she was always looking for her. When Hoa tells her that Nassun killed Jija, she blamed herself for her daughter’s destructive behavior. Ruefully she says, “I made her into me. Earth eats us both, I made her into me.” She no longer has the mission to find her daughter and now must come to terms with her motherly regrets. She thinks she no longer has the right to be Nassun’s mother, especially after realizing that her nemesis Schaffa did a better job loving her child then she did. She tried to prepare Nassun for the cruel world that a awaited her. She thought to herself, “He wouldn’t have had to break her hand, would he?… Schaffa was affectionate with her, as you struggled to be.” Fear was more important than love. Ironically, she became afraid of her own daughter.
An ancient folk song in the FIfth Season “Some say the Earth is angry because he has no company; I say the earth is angry because he lives alone.” Perhaps this is why some have the desire to have children. It biologically and psychologically part of the human condition. Essun attempts happiness through this medium, as did my mother. Did Essun make Nassun the way she was via nurture or was it genetic? Am I like my mother because I lived with her or because we share the same DNA? “It is an evil day when you realize that even in the smallest way you have become like your mother. There is no way out!” This is a quote from my own mother. Most women start life with their mother as their first role model. I have noticed that in many ways I have followed my mother’s footsteps. She went to Geneseo 37 years ago. I can’t imagine not having constant support from my mother. I would be a completely different person.
I wonder what it would be like to have a daughter you are ashamed of or fearful of. Does a mother ever wish she hadn’t given life to her child? The mother of a murderer? My mother told me that she had to let go of the blame. “At some point, childhood is over and you are responsible for your own choices.” I have always known that I was loved. This was not so easy for Essun and Nassun.
Ultimately, it was Essun’s love for her daughter that saved the world. Essun gave up her power and her life hoping that her daughter would see life as worth living.
The Stone Sky ends with Essun giving up. She lets her daughter destroy her. Unexpectedly, Nassun weakens and like the Grinch, her heart grows in size. Hoa expresses his love for both of them. He finally sees the similarity in how they love. Hoa says, “She is just as determined as you. Just as driven by love-you for her, and she for Schaffa. I love you both. How can I not, after all this?”