The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Corundum, or “Coru,” is Syenite and Alabaster’s son, who is born on Meov and co-parented by Syenite, Alabaster, and Innon. An incredibly powerful orogene even from birth, Corundum started quelling all the micro-earthquakes in the surrounding area when he was only one year old. Desperate to save her son from being captured by the Guardians and made into a node maintainer, Syenite smothers Corundum to death before using the obelisk to destroy Meov.

Corundum Quotes in The Fifth Season

The The Fifth Season quotes below are all either spoken by Corundum or refer to Corundum. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Orbit edition of The Fifth Season published in 2015.
Chapter 22 Quotes

“Freedom means we get to control what we do now. No one else.”

“Yes. But now that I can think about what I want…” He shrugs as if nonchalant, but there’s an intensity in his gaze at he looks at Innon and Coru. “I’ve never wanted much from life. Just to be able to live it, really. I’m not like you, Syen. I don’t need to prove myself. I don’t want to change the world, or help people, or be anything great. I just want…this.”

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Alabaster (speaker), Corundum, Innon Resistant Meov
Page Number: 422
Explanation and Analysis:

Promise, Alabaster had said.

Do whatever you have to, Innon had tried to say.

And Syenite says: “No, you fucker.”

Coru is crying. She puts her hand over his mouth and nose, to silence him, to comfort him. She will keep him safe. She will not let them take him, enslave him, turn his body into a tool and his mind into a weapon and his life into a travesty of freedom.

[…]

Better that a child never have lived at all than live as a slave.

Better that he die.

Better that she die. Alabaster will hate her for this, for leaving him alone, but Alabaster is not here, and survival is not the same thing as living.

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Alabaster (speaker), Innon Resistant Meov (speaker), Corundum, Schaffa Guardian Warrant
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“After Meov. I was…” You’re not sure how to say it. There are griefs too deep to be borne, and yet you have borne them again and again. “I needed to be different.”

It makes no sense. Alabaster makes a soft affirmative sound, though, as if he understands. “You stayed free, at least.”

If hiding everything you are is free. “Yes.”

[…]

“I understand why you killed Corundum,” Alabaster says, very softly. And then, while you sway in your crouch, literally reeling from the blow of that sentence, he finishes you. “But I’ll never forgive you for doing it.”

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Alabaster (speaker), Corundum
Page Number: 446
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Fifth Season LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Fifth Season PDF

Corundum Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Corundum appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 20: Syenite, stretched and snapped back
Freedom Theme Icon
...life on Meov, so she asks Innon if she can join his crew. The baby, Corundum, is mostly cared for by Alabaster and other mothers in the comm—as everything in Meov... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...bored. He reminds her that Alabaster is happy to stay quietly in Meov, either with Corundum or alone, but Syenite says that she’s not Alabaster, and she knows that Innon can... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Finally, Innon asks if Syenite even loves Corundum, given that she wants so badly to leave him. Syenite knows that she loves her... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
...freedom now, since Innon has his rogga child, and Alabaster will always stay to train Corundum better than anyone else could. Syenite is irritated, but she recognizes that what Alabaster is... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
...the smallest earthquakes ever since they arrived. Alabaster shakes his head, though, and nods at Corundum—it’s the baby who’s been doing this for the last year, he says. Syen finally realizes... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...which now has a bigger bed to accommodate Innon as well. Alabaster is there with Corundum, and Syen gets into bed and holds Alabaster, who apologizes to her. Again, Syen assures... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...just because of her own mistake. Innon tells her that it is for Alabaster and Corundum’s sake, and Syenite agrees to do as he asks. Syenite tells Innon to move the... (full context)
Chapter 21: you’re getting the band back together
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...just a rogga, but something else. The man also said that Essun owes him, for Corundum’s sake. Essun freezes and realizes that it’s Alabaster. Hoa confirms this and says that Alabaster... (full context)
Chapter 22: Syenite, fractured
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...rings or uniforms anymore. Alabaster says that one of them will eventually have to train Corundum, but Syenite suggests that they just let him learn the basics. Alabaster strokes her hair... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...enjoy it, bringing food and blankets with them. Innon brings a musical instrument, Alabaster carries Corundum, and Syen brings a terrible but enjoyable novel from the looted cargo ship. When they... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Looking around at the Meovites, with Innon tossing Corundum into the air as Alabaster looks on nervously, Syenite feels like she might really love... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Syenite wakes to see Innon holding Corundum and looking worriedly at Alabaster, who is on his feet and tensed, clearly sessing something... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Syenite explains this to Innon, who tells her to give Corundum to someone else, as they will need Syen’s help. Syen tries to hand Coru off... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
...section of Alabaster’s wall, but more rock immediately replaces it. Meanwhile Syenite has to carry Corundum and also control all of the waves being created by these eruptions from the seafloor.... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...crouches beside him, he asks her to promise that she won’t let the Guardians take Corundum. Syenite is confused, as Alabaster seems battered but relatively unhurt. Only then does she see... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...Still struggling, Alabaster again begs Syenite to promise that she won’t let the Guardians take Corundum, as they both know that he will be mutilated and made into a node maintainer.... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
As Syenite reaches Innon and Corundum on the deck of the Clalsu, a section of Alabaster’s wall finally breaks apart. Innon... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...everyone aboard. Surrounded by screaming and death, Syenite goes belowdecks and finally finds Innon and Corundum in the captain’s cabin. Innon tells her that he has to go back up and... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Syenite then hears a familiar voice, and Schaffa appears. She grabs Corundum and backs away as he approaches. Schaffa sees the baby and asks if it’s Alabaster’s,... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Corundum is wailing now, and Syenite starts to say “no” over and over again, but Schaffa... (full context)
Chapter 23: you’re all you need
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...her words trail off. Finally, Alabaster tells her that he can understand why she killed Corundum, but he can’t forgive her for doing it. (full context)