Taking the Last Penalty Kick

I walked out of the very first meeting of this class at the beginning of the semester imagining myself in a situation that I knew I could understand: 

You’re standing in front of a soccer goal. The ball is planted indifferently on the 12 yard penalty kick line. You have a 50/50 chance to score. The only obstacles in your path are the goalkeeper, and your own mind. It’s the same thing for everyone who has ever taken a penalty kick in soccer. Anyone from the whole team that took a penalty kick right now would have the exact same ball inflation, the exact same ball location, and the exact same chance. You can feel the fear of failure in your chest. You know the goalkeeper is good; it’s going to be difficult to be fully successful, but you know you are very capable. Yet you still can’t move. The few seconds of pure immobility before you decide to take your shot is terrifying. Every possible factor and outcome calculates through your mind before you even shift the weight of your feet on the ground. The second you get into position to strike the ball is the most vulnerable moment you’ll experience, the moment when your fight or flight instinct kicks in. But you progress, despite your fear. You take a step, kick the ball, and follow through. You walk back to the bench where the rest of your team waits for you, and you know they’ll all pat your back and say “good job” no matter the outcome.

Continue reading “Taking the Last Penalty Kick”

Contemplating the How

As our blog posts are coming to a close, I wanted to start getting myself into the reflective mindset in preparation for our final reflective essay. Reflection is something that I have touched on already in a few of my previous blog posts, and I have come to truly see how it offered me an incredible tool when it came to brainstorming new content when I felt at a loss for topics of new posts.

Dr. McCoy had asked this a few times, both in class and in response to my blog posts: How? Continue reading “Contemplating the How”

Can The Present Shape The Past?

In light of the poem we read recently in class by Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It”, I began to contemplate the relevance of the past, present and future, both within Jemisin’s books and within this class as a whole. In his poem, Komunyakaa is giving his experience a voice, as he faces traumatic experiences of the past, being a Vietnam War veteran, during a visit to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., which rekindles past emotions. Continue reading “Can The Present Shape The Past?”

Kinetic Sand!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I vividly remember those commercials on TV when I was younger advertising what is known as kinetic sand; that colorful, half sand, half playdough stuff that looked and felt like wet sand, but it wasn’t! I can remember sitting down at the kitchen table with my two younger sisters and breaking out the sand, squishing it, rolling it and stacking it, all before my mom entered the room panicking that we were playing with this sand without any sort of box or newspaper underneath it to keep the table clean (needless to say, my mom started supervising our use of kinetic sand after that incident).

Why is kinetic sand relevant to anything I might have to say, you ask? Well, after scrolling through and re-reading the notes I had taken throughout our reading of The Broken Earth Trilogy, I became unusually fixed on the word “grit” , and kept trying to wrack my brain of where I had heard this word before. I had this feeling that it was relevant, and wasn’t just the name of a boiled corn breakfast meal. Finally after a long period of the word just bouncing around in the back of my head, I realized why I was finding this word to be significant. Continue reading “Kinetic Sand!”

What’s the Harm in Learning?

At the end of The Obelisk Gate and leading into the beginning of The Stone Sky, we as readers are well aware of the power Essun holds: she is literally the most powerful orogene in The Stillness (now that Alabaster is dead, of course). For me, when reading The Obelisk Gate, I was very intrigued in Nassun’s story line, though, and her development as a skilled orogene. It is clear that she has an immense amount of power, and is surely unaware of just how truly powerful she is capable of becoming. I began to wonder if Nassun had the capability to surpass her mother in terms of ability (which at the time I had yet to read very far into The Stone Sky to investigate that more).  However, as Nassun explored her orogeny more, I began questioning her strategy of practice. Continue reading “What’s the Harm in Learning?”

Starting Over After the End of the World

Authors: Sarah Bracy, Ashley Daddona, Steven Minurka, Lauren Ngo, Elena Ritz, & Jose Romero

“They came from diverse tribes and countries, and their traditions had no word for what had happened. But they were one in their shock and grief, huddled under the pall of hunger, the fear of disease, and the utter fatigue of starting over after the end of the world” (Babcock 1).

With pain there is beauty, which is surely demonstrated in the interactive piece by Lorena Babcock Moore, titled Tsunami Art. The Earth rests on the back of a turtle which is shook by an earthquake, causing a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Each section of the shell has a different story to tell about the devastation that came with the tsunami, and the incredible artistry is a beautiful way to tell the story of the disaster, and those who fell victim to it, for years to come. This intent to tell the story of the disaster and its effects is an interesting parallel to the stonelore that we see throughout Jemisin’s trilogy, which serves the same function — keeping relevant information alive throughout time. Continue reading “Starting Over After the End of the World”

Backtracking

After reading through some feedback from Dr. McCoy on my first few blog posts, I have decided to go back through those previous blog posts to sift through and think about some of the things that I had begun to put together, but never revisited after the initial post. It was great to look back at the first posts I made to reflect on all the little, yet equally important things, that have happened throughout the course of The Fifth Season, as well as The Obelisk Gate.

What I would really like to focus in on a bit is the development and change we see in Essun’s character between The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate. Specifically, her negative self-esteem and self-worth is something worth noting. In my Optical Illusions post, I touched upon the shifting between identities that Essun experiences throughout The Fifth Season, and how this shift between three different, separate identities can represent a continuous growth of maturity in Damaya/Syenite/Essun’s character. Essun is able to change and grow stronger-both physically and mentally- while remaining in her current identity once she is introduced to a new society where she is not (for the most part) discriminated against. Continue reading “Backtracking”

Parallel Fulcrums

I made a very interesting and unintentional connection a few weeks ago between Jemisin’s work and the occurrences in my every day life; I forgot about this connection (in the moment I didn’t even think to write it down, ugh!), but it came back into my mind when I was reading The Obelisk Gate and was grappling with the many questions that encompassed my overall thought of “what the rust is going on?!”.  Continue reading “Parallel Fulcrums”

Optical Illusions

With some inspiration from Brigid’s post about comparing The Stillness with the Earth that we all call home, I want to expand on another idea related to this, that we have also briefly brought up in class: Jemisin has so beautifully created a world that we have recognized as vastly different from ours, which makes The Fifth Season a stunning example of a wonderfully executed science-fiction novel (hence being awarded The Hugo Award for Best Novel, wow!). However, thanks to the film we watched in class on Friday, which I believe was called The Last Angel of History, I began thinking of the similarities that are also present between The Stillness and our Earth, such as natural disasters, discrimination, loss, emotion, and so on. Despite the dystopian approach that Jemisin takes towards presenting The Stillness and the events that occur within it, which makes unfortunate aspects of this reality seem a million times worse than the unfortunate aspects of our own reality, there are still similarities that may not be clearly recognizable due to the genre of the book.

Continue reading “Optical Illusions”

Fallen Angels

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been finding it extremely difficult to find inspiration for a blog post. I have many thoughts that come to mind when reading, but have also been struggling to create coherent, well-thought out connections that makes sense that are worthy, in my mind, of a blog post. However, after Professor McCoy gave us some (much appreciated and apparently needed) time to reflect on the blog posts of the class, I have been reminded that I do not need to have all of my thoughts completely mapped out and explained in perfect, coherent sense, ending in a permanent conclusion. I am feeling a new sense of encouragement after reading everyone’s posts, and for that I thank all of you who have crafted these beautiful, perfectly imperfect posts. They have prompted me to return to thinkING, and remembering that this does not always mean having a clear beginning, middle and end in what I’m saying, and that I just need to say something.

So, without further blubbering, I’m going to use the idea that Lizzie presented regarding self-hatred that becomes evident in Syenite throughout the progression of her journey, in order to grapple with an underlying idea that has been presented throughout the novel in a few ways: Religion.

Continue reading “Fallen Angels”