Rather than being inspired by an enlightening experience with a medical professional like some of my fellow pre-med peers have expressed, I’ve always been fascinated by the ability to heal others in general ever since I was young. Throughout primary and secondary school, I remained so oblivious in my fascination and excitement that I never realized what I was getting myself into. I knew nothing of the medical school process or even the specializations within the medical field. For some reason, the mantra “when there’s a will, there’s a way” was all that kept cycling though my head all those years. I never really look back at the times before 2015 because I’m (mostly) no longer that steaming pile of emo angst anymore but in reflecting back, I think that there was a lot more at play than my blissful ignorance at work.
After reading Delaney’s blog post on “Magic Systems: The Restricted Section,” I reflected back on my childhood and the abundance of fantasy series and mythological lore that made up for the majority of my adolescent reading history. Apparently I’m not the only one either, as others in our class have brought up D’aulaires Book of Greek Myths and Lord of the Rings in their posts as well. Delaney brings up and comments on N.K. Jemisin’s frustrations of the system/rules that fantasy writers sometimes place on the magic in their works.
Surprisingly, in my search for the context behind the briar patch, Urban Dictionary of all sites summarizes a briar patch as a “place you secretly really want to be, even though the person sending you there thinks it’s a punishment.” Most likely referring to Joel Chandler Harris’ Tar-Baby story, this explanation is pretty accurate for its brevity. The class had just started The Stone Sky when we were encouraged to look into the background of the briar patch of Syl Anagist on the Interwebs. I admit that I was a little frustrated during that class because I could not figure out the connection between the Urban Dictionary/Harris and the Jemisin versions for the life of me since The Broken Earth’s briar patch is definitely not a place that anyone wants to be in. However, now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I realize that I was too narrow-minded in trying to look for a copy-and-paste orogene edition of the Tar-Baby story in Syl Anagist.
Since The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin’s use and significance of the word “shattering” in the trilogy has always intrigued me but I constantly felt that I was unable to coherently parse enough thoughts together to formulate a blog post about it. As I scrolled through the 101/431 tag on the (Im)Possibilities blog, it only made sense for Abby’s post to catch my eye with her introductory blurb focusing on the earth’s shatterings in Jemisin’s world.
Now that we’re two-thirds of the way into N.K. Jemisin’s trilogy, I can’t help but notice that what I initially thought was a dramatic moment is actually a common technique that Jemisin uses throughout The Broken Earth for both aesthetic and literary purposes. Continue reading “…and Three’s a Party!”
After watching a part of the “1933 Master’s Race” episode of People’s Century, I became increasingly aware of the parallel between the propaganda of Nazi Germany and the stonelore of The Broken Earth trilogy. Continue reading “Power of Lore”
From superhero comics to children shows like Danny Phantom, America’s science-fiction and entertainment industries have thrived on the idea of giving humans (or humanoids at least) supernatural powers for decades. This trope has enticed people for generations, probably because it gives its audience a chance to momentarily escape from their troubles or simply from the normality of reality. By becoming engrossed in a world that uses humans as its subjects/heroes, the audience has the opportunity to envision the fictional setting as an alternate universe in which (maybe in another life) they themselves could have had a chance to live in. Continue reading “Literary Judge, Jury, and Executioner”
During our small group discussion around N.K. Jemisin’s characters, Andrew pointed out how intriguing the stone eaters’ range of mobility is. Although the stone eaters struggle to go down a couple steps, they are also able to move through the earth in mere instances. As Jemisin’s writing does not leave any room for simple coincidence to act as rationale, the constantly overlooked mysteries behind the origin and functions of the stone eaters leave too many puzzles for me to not make my own theories. In order to better understand the stone eaters, I’ve started to speculate a little in the biology of the stone eaters or, as I’ve coined it, petrovorology. Continue reading “Petrovorology”
If you’re from Dr. McCoy’s ENGL 101/431 class, go back to the time you didn’t know stone paper existed. Now imagine if someone on the street runs up to you Billy Eichner style and asks you to choose which one actually exists: stone paper or volcanic lightning. Which would you choose? Sike, it’s a trick question. Both are real and amazing! While the class easily accepted the existence of stone paper (probably because we had physical evidence), others may not be so receptive.
Jumping back to Emma’s post, she questions why is it so hard for society to believe the stories of victims of abuse. I related to how Emma felt as she read Zulus and how she questioned the legitimacy of Alice’s pregnancy. It could have been the science side of me but I also had a hard time understanding the certainty of Alice’s thoughts, to the point where I forgot the violent cause of her first pregnancy. Only after I reflected upon my own reading of Zulus (as prompted by Emma’s post), did I realize my mind horrifically blocked out Alice’s trauma. Unfortunately, I also realized that it is not the only moment in which I have done so. Continue reading “Quality vs. Quantity”