Final Reflection Essay

This entire semester I have found myself faced with increasing apathy towards my classes when compared to my earlier semesters in college. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve hit a wall now that I realize graduation is closer than it seems, or whether I have gotten too comfortable knowing what the bare-minimum needed is for me to get by. The soft deadlines of the blog posts in this class were one of my first wake-up calls this semester that I had to try and find my motivation again.

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Forming an Identity

Coming into my final blog post of the semester I was unsure of what I wanted to write about. For most of my previous blog posts I had a general idea either from a class period or from something I thought about while reading of what I wanted my blog post to be about. This final post came in the moment as I was listening to music while doing work and happened to be listening to a song called “Chum” by one of my favorite rappers, Earl Sweatshirt. Listening to this song clarified something I had been thinking about in The Broken Earth Trilogy since we started reading The Fifth Season.  Continue reading “Forming an Identity”

The Briar Patch

When we talked about the Uncle Remus stories in class and the association with the briar patch, it was not my first experience with the tales of Br’er Rabbit. All of my prior knowledge of the stories came from a ride at Disney World called Splash Mountain. Splash Mountain is based on the Disney Movie Song of the South which is based on the Uncle Remus stories. The ride even contains a large briar patch that a log flume plummets into. Just before this happens, the animatronic rabbit tells br’er fox, just as in the original story, “hang me if you gotta! But please, please don’t fling me in that briar patch!” and then mirroring the story further, br’er rabbit survives because as was said in the original story, he “was bred and born in the briar patch“. After reading the Syl Anagist sections of The Stone Sky my perception towards the amusement park ride was drastically altered, and I began to look at the troubling link between the tuners and the story of br’er rabbit.  Continue reading “The Briar Patch”

Reclaiming Language

On a comment about one of my previous blog posts, Dr. McCoy raised the question about whether or not “the additive meanings [of words can] survive without being informed/poisoned by the roots?” My previous post focused on the word “family” but Dr. McCoy’s suggestion got me to think about the origins of other words and specifically, as she pointed out, the U.S. Constitution.  Continue reading “Reclaiming Language”

Parasitic and Symbiotic Relationships

A passage that struck me while discussing The Stone Sky in class was Nassun’s query into her symbiotic relationship with Schaffa which “she will have already decided that family will do” to define their bond. I began to wonder if family was the same as symbiosis, which typically means different organisms mutually benefitting off one another and what this meant for the relationship between Nassun and Essun.

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Breeding in Science Fiction

A few weeks ago we read selected passages from the works of Octavia Butler. I noticed that in both Wild Seed and Dawn there were references to breeding practices and I remembered that in Jemisin’s work there is an entire use-caste devoted to breeding. Selective breeding, of course, has its own place in human history, but I began to wonder why it was such a common theme in both science-fiction and fantasy novels.

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The Connection towards Home

While working on the group blog post about geologic disasters, I was recalled back to The Fifth Season when I read about communities of people who refused to leave their homes when disaster was imminent. Throughout the trilogy, the connection to home in the face of geologic disaster plays a pivotal part in places such as Allia and Castrima. I decided to look into why this occurs in our own world, and what it means for communities who face natural disasters.

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Sympathy towards Nassun’s Motivations

One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky is the development of Nassun as she comes to grips with the realities of the world. Her motivations in the third book have developed into an interesting parallel to Essun, as Nassun turns into a version of what Essun easily could have become. What I find most interesting is that even though Nassun is seeking an end to the world, I find her motivations completely understandable and it is as easy for me to root for her as it is for me to root for Essun.

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Stone Eaters and Mythological Creatures

During most of The Fifth Season, I wasn’t sure what to make of the Stone Eaters. In hindsight, it’s clear that Jemisin deliberately wanted to keep me as uncertain as I was in the beginning as the story progressed and I still did not have a satisfying view of what they were and what they were doing. It was only when we read a post by Jemisin where she said “the stone eaters aren’t ‘mythological’” that I finally confronted why I wasn’t sure of how to view them. While I didn’t see the Stone Eaters as mythological, I didn’t know what category to put them in. Now it’s clear to me that I saw them the way Jemisin was hoping, as humans, even if I continued to be wary of their motivations.

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The Story of Misalem and Historical Revisionism

When Schaffa tells Damaya the story of Misalem, the evil orogene who tried to destroy Yumenes, he makes it clear that Misalem is the antagonist and that Damaya does not get to envision herself in the role of the hero Shemshena. I never thought to question the validity of Schaffa’s telling of events until Alabaster later reveals that Misalem was actually trying to avenge his family who was taken from him. This act of historical revisionism by the Guardians made me think of the novel The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which I read in Dr. Cooper’s class last semester. In Whitehead’s novel, history is being revised as it happens to fit the narrative most beneficial to those telling the story, similar to the Guardian’s version of events on Misalem.

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