“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.