Canning Food and Botulism

On Wednesday, October 3rd, I attended a Food Safety Talk podcast recording at the recommendation of Dr. McCoy. While I was there, the speakers answered a question about how long imperishable food can last and when we should be worried about it. This reminded me of Chapter 9 in N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season where Alabaster gets poisoned by badly canned food and I was curious as to how accurate Jemisin’s description of faulty canning practices could be. Turns out, she likely did some research.
Continue reading “Canning Food and Botulism”

From Four Rings to Six

In class on Monday, Dr. McCoy mentioned that Jemisin uses elements from other works in her story building. Something that came to my attention was how she worked the element of  Mandarin’s rings in Marvel Comics into The Fifth Season as the rings that the Fulcrum uses to dictate a hierarchy. At the end of The Fifth Season, Syenite has six rings. Four of them, earned in the Fulcrum, are made of carnelian, white opal, gold, and onyx (Jemisin 61). Then Alabaster gave her two more made of jade and mother of pearl (Jemisin 414). As far as we’ve read there is no meaning behind each ring, so why does Jemisin specify what mineral/rock each ring is made of? Continue reading “From Four Rings to Six”

“You Are Here”- What Does This Mean?

During Monday’s class discussion we questioned N. K. Jemisin’s use of alternating second person with third person when changing point of view. She starts The Fifth Season with the sentence “you are here,” simultaneously placing us in her world and creating the character of Essun. When She created two more points of view, Damaya and Syenite, that were seemingly unknowing of each other, the class grew more confused.

Why does Jemisin start here? How do these three characters piece together? The timelines are jumbled. Why?

As I think about this, I’m drawn toward the conclusion that these characters are more closely related than immediately thought. All of them are orogenes, rock moving people who control this ability with their emotions. Damaya is being sent to the same place as where Syenite lives, the Fulcrum. When Syenite is talking to Alabaster, an advanced orogene, he tells her that he is jealous of the fact that she didn’t have to have the same name all her life. Could Syenite be the same girl as Damaya? Could the use of the second person point of view point towards Essun being the same girl in present tense? The only way to find out is to keep reading.