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”


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”

Why Am I “Here”?

I began thinking about our class discussion that we had on September 10th about the meaning behind Jemisin’s choice of titling the prologue of The Fifth Season as “you are here”.  LeiBin made the comment that Jemisin forced us to start “here” in the novel, leaving us to piece things together to uncover meaning, and get a sense of the beginning of the story on our own, since we essentially started in the middle of everything.

Continue reading “Why Am I “Here”?”

The Uncertainty of DNR Tattoos

After reading Dana’s post, I became much more interested in reading the article about DNR tattoos and how it raises concern and uncertainty in terms of consent. The line from Dana’s post that read “…this could potentially lead to a new definition of consent that goes beyond legal written documentation.  The consent that would be associated with tattoos on the body might be difficult to clearly define” really sparked my attention, because this is very true. How do you interpret something like this, that really isn’t a popular or understood concept.

Continue reading “The Uncertainty of DNR Tattoos”

Mark Spitz’s Ark

As I am working on my opening-out essay and revisiting my ideas and notes on Zone One, I came across my note about the use of water-related vocabulary, and how I was wondering about the reason behind why Whitehead decided to incorporate these specific words. I failed to look into it while we were reading the book despite my questions about it, although I did talk about his use of complicated vocabulary in a previous post. Therefore, I decided that I would dive into it a little more now that I can take a step back from the complicated vocabulary as a whole, and focus on the specific use of this themed vocabulary.

Continue reading “Mark Spitz’s Ark”

Being Joyfully Self-Critical

After working on the collective course statement over the course of the last few classes, I have come across a lot of my notes from earlier in the class that I forgot about. Particularly, I came across the sentence “we must be joyfully self-critical, and never have a goal“, capitalized and starred. This was within my notes regarding the discussion with Professor Kennison about medical voluntourism. As we come back to discussing medical voluntourism in terms of our collective course statement, and the solutions we can come up with for the problems with it, I thought that this statement was very important in terms of that, but also in terms of our class in general.

Continue reading “Being Joyfully Self-Critical”