Initially, entering this class, I was baffled. I entered with the impression that we were going to focus on works from the Civil Rights Movement and prominent African American authors; with the course title being “Blackness, Love, and Justice,” I thought this was a safe assumption to make. But boy, was I wrong. Looking at the course’s reading materials, I knew I would be in for an interesting semester, especially once introduced to the blog posts.
Over the timeline of this course, to say I struggled with the blog posts is an understatement. As soon as I was informed these blog posts were self-paced, I knew I was doomed. I was unfamiliar with this concept. Was this independence, dare I say… freedom? Continue reading “Independence? Freedom?!”
In Syl Anagist, there exists the Briar Patch. The Briar Patch is a place where humanity dies. In it exists thousands of tuners that are “unable to work” and remain alive solely so their power can be harvested (235). Gallat, a conductor of the network, calmly and coldly explains the process in the Briar Patch, “so after system priming, once the generative cycle is established, there’s only an occasional need to reprime” (263). Gallat is numb to the horror of the Briar Patch and does not even address the slaves as people, but as things…objects. At first, reading this passage…I was appalled, but then I quickly realized this is a reflection to the inner workings of our world. Continue reading “Modern Day Slavery”
In The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin, the author, includes a variety of cursing to stress certain statements like shit, fuck, and “rust.” Coming across the first curse word in the trilogy, I was actually taken aback, because in my experience, fantasy writers customarily choose to be PG with their language. With the discussion of why Jemisin specifically adds in curse words, I could not help, but be curious behind the science of cursing. Continue reading “Cur$!ng”
Essun raised Nassun in a rather forward, non-conventional way in the sense that if Nassun wanted something she should not wait for others to act first, but solely rely on herself. In recollection, in The Obelisk Gate, Nassun remembers that “there has never been anyone to save Nassun. Her mother warned her there never would be if Nassun ever wants to be free of fear, she has no choice but to forge that freedom for herself” (385). In subtle reference to my last post, Imprisonment :/, I love the proactive nature Essun has instilled into Nassun.
Continue reading “Proactiveness”
“Indifference is worse than hate” (341). In The Obelisk Gate, Essun relays her devastation once realizing that one of the people in Castrima has decided that Essun is not a person, because she is a rogga. In that woman’s eyes, roggas are not worthy of humanity due to the way roggas are placed in the social hierarchy in the Stillness. In my perspective, indifference largely stems from ignorance.
Continue reading “Indifference :/”
In the prologue of The Obelisk Gate, we are introduced to the world of Syl Anagist from the perspective of Houwha (Hoa, pre-stone eater days) trapped in a “sterile space” that is his prison. In this world, there is simply “no need for guards when you can convince people to collaborate in their own internment. Here is a cell within a pretty prison” (5). Reading this passage, I was immediately struck with the connection to our own modern prison system. At this point in time, according to the Pew Research Center, the United States of America is the country with the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. The United States only represents a fraction of the world’s population at 4.4%, but has an astounding 22% of the world’s prisoners. If these statistics don’t speak volumes of our prison system, I frankly don’t know what does.
Continue reading “Imprisonment”
Names…”Names have power” (239). A name gives us an identity, a category, something to belong to, an overall understanding of what something is. In The Stone Sky, Nassun and Schaffa enter the mantle of the Earth, and as they enter, Nassun recognizes the layer they have entered as the asthenosphere. By naming it, her fear is eased. But as I came across this passage, I resonated with it in a different kind of sense. Yes, giving a name to something does familiarize it, somehow. However, societally, names and labels act as borders and a sign of exclusivity almost, in my opinion.
Continue reading “The Power of Names”
In class, earlier in the semester, we discussed Corundum’s death in The Fifth Season (447). Essun, Innon, and Alabaster were parents to Corundum and swore to protect him from the hands of the Fulcrum. The Fulcrum was the foundation of the systematic slavery the orogenes had to face, which Essun and Alabaster experienced firsthand. But with the arrival of the Guardians on the island, Essun was forced to make the difficult decision of killing Corundum in order to spare him from the future pain he would have had to face in the Fulcrum. Corundum had no voice in his death as he was a young child, but nevertheless, it was nonconsensual. Personally, I think Essun made the correct decision, but that’s neither here nor there. But with the idea that childhood is mostly a nonconsensual experience in mind, I couldn’t help be reminded of the fascinating murder case of Dee Dee and her daughter Gypsy.
Continue reading “The Nonconsensual Aspect of Childhood”
Reading The Fifth Season, I was irked as I came across a male Breeder’s weak attempt at a compliment as he said “you’re only forty-three” to Essun in Chapter 14. It was a brief comment, and holds no real significance to the development of the plot. But in the time humans have occupied the planet, women have consistently been categorized and assigned a “worth” based on several physical attributes. But, especially age.
Continue reading “Women and Their Age”
Although sexuality has evolved into a subject that has become more comfortable to talk about in modern day society, it is still far from being completely unraveled. Thus, I genuinely appreciate the casual manner sexuality is integrated into the world Jemisin creates. It’s a breath of fresh air to see sexuality so freely and for the most part, uninhibited. Jemisin has a skill of incorporating sexuality into the character’s arcs that expresses their passion without making it overly crude or vulgar. I find in mainstream media, artists have difficulty including a love scene to further the plot versus putting one in for the sake of nudity in the piece.
Jemisin can be seen utilizing sexuality throughout the book with the characters like Alabaster in “The Fifth Season.” For instance, in Chapter 16, Alabaster casually mentions his homosexuality to Syenite as he recalls a painful memory with a Guardian. Before coming across this part, I did not realize the easygoing attitude most have towards sexuality in the Stillness. But I also was shocked that I am almost incapable of imagining a world with such unrestricted sexuality – fictional or not. It is strange to imagine a world without such “boundaries” and societal expectations to follow. In addition, I was surprised to learn that Tonkee was transgender, especially since Jemisin easily weaved it in, and did not make it a shattering statement.
Continue reading “The Casual Manner of Sexuality”