Lily Conroy- CORE Essay

In this course, we read The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin, which takes place in a far-from-future world. The world has periods of devastating storms, starvation, volcanic eruptions, and several other seismic events that it nearly impossible for humans to survive; they are defined by recurring “Seasons’” in this world.  In my earlier Lithosphere essay, I delved into N.K Jemisin’s first book in the trilogy, “The Fifth Season” and I explored how the control of science and myth can contribute to the dominance over the people, and cause racialization, distribution of classes, and genderization certain groups of people within my essay.  When I constructed the Lithosphere essay I was only focused on understanding the elements I listed above and how they may have created systematic inequalities and injustices in the continent of the Stillness. I analyzed the misconceptions of the Orogene abilities how the Orogenes were racialized by institutions like the Fulcrum and how it can contribute to harsh structures within the first book in the trilogy.   

As I reread and reflected on my thoughts in the initial essay with thinking, I realized that my thinking had shifted as I moved through the trilogy and reached the core of the trilogy.  One of the shifts of my thinking is diving deeper into the understanding of how the elements of racialization, distribution of class, and gender grouping are not just all separate experiences or incidents in the trilogy, however, view them as connected parts of a broader oppressive and power structure. In my first essay, I mentioned how the slang is used to define orogenes and how it shows how racially discriminated they are by using a quote from the first book  “’ You’re a rogga,’ Asael snaps, and then has the gall to look surprised at herself.“(Jemisin Fifth Season, page 216). As I kept reading the trilogy I noticed that the slang term is still being used “Months in my comm, and still all you are is ‘just a rogga.’”(Jemisin The Stone Sky 384 online) This demonstrates that there is a continual theme of racialization and discrimination throughout the trilogy and how it’s shown to be a bigger issue.  It also illustrates how fundamental prejudices are generally ignored even when circumstances and characters evolve over time. You can demonstrate how Jemisin illustrates the ongoing problems experienced by oppressed groups through the language that is being used by drawing a connection between these two quotes. Throughout the trilogy, “rogga” is used repeatedly by various people and settings, serving as a reminder of the prevalence of prejudice and the systems of oppression. This is only one example of how continual acts of oppression are not essentially isolated incidents that certain groups of people are going through. 

I have gained a new understanding of the orogeny myth’s important role in upholding oppressive systems through investigating this idea. Although orogeny was originally connected to racial classification, further reading into The Broken Earth Trilogy has shown that it also has an impact on power structures and social standards in the Stillness universe. The myth of orogeny covers both economic and political power in addition to justifying the ruling class’s exploitation of orogene abilities. I have gained a deeper understanding of the complexity present in systemic injustices by observing the relationship between myth, science, and power relations through my analysis of the trilogy.

Syenites’ story of responding to the prejudice and injustices demonstrated in the book is a complicated example of how diverse reactions are taken. First of all, the young orogene is depicted as someone trying to function within the institution of the Fulcrum.  Syenite demonstrates her determination despite these challenges by following her path and challenging the constraints of the Stillness society. Again, An example of Syenite’s strength is her ability to resist the oppressive narratives that were imposed upon her. She doesn’t agree with Fulcrum’s claim that these ideas and myths are the source of their control and weakness. The ability to use self-awareness allows her to get through the power struggles while maintaining her individuality and freedom as an individual with a range of experiences and skills. Her stories expose the harsh realities of oppression while also highlighting the resilience of marginalized individuals living within those constraints. Furthermore, the quote “It’s been a challenging forty thousand years”(Jemisin, The Stone Sky 2118 online), captures the larger picture of adversity and perseverance faced by both the Earth and individuals like Syenite. This quote represents Syenite’s path of overcoming adversity and fighting against an oppressive system while also thinking back on the challenges she and others have faced over the years. Like Syenite and the others challenge the oppressive myths that were imposed upon them, the society in the books maintains a past of exploitation demonstrating themes of resilience throughout all parts of the narrative.

The course epigraph we read at the beginning of the semester emphasizes how race-making functions such as political and strategic processes to uphold power and wealth differences through the disparities is resonates with the themes throughout the Broken Earth Trilogy.  This viewpoint also goes along with my changing or developing thoughts from the beginning to the end of the Trilogy.  The epigraph also touches on the aspects that are related to the Broken Earth Trilogy examination of how power dynamics, myth-making, and racialization of certain groups are all interlocked and branched off the bigger picture of control.  As I reread the course epigraph at the end of the semester I came to realize the importance and connection it had to the books we have read and the course as a whole.  

In conclusion, reading The Broken Earth Trilogy has changed teh way I think about the ideas that were covered in the books as well as the course. I now dont look at these issues as stand-alone thoughts but now as an essential component of the bigger picture of oppression and resilience.  This change of thinking highlights the depth of Jemisin’s writing and story and encourages the reader to dive deeper into how myth, science, and societal structures influence individuals and group experiences.


Jemisin, N. K. (2016). The fifth season. Orbit.

Jemisin, N. K. (2017). The stone sky. First Edition. New York, Orbit.

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