The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Damaya’s Mother Character Analysis

Damaya’s mother is unnamed in the book but of the Strongback use-caste. Partly introduced as an example of the general public’s attitudes toward orogenes, Damaya’s mother turns against her daughter when she learns that she is an orogene, locking Damaya in the barn and giving away her things. She’s even willing to sell Damaya to Schaffa when she thinks that he is there to kill Damaya. Later, Damaya realizes that her mother actually feared her more than she hated her, and did better than many other parents of orogenes by at least reporting her and keeping her safe from murderous mobs.
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Damaya’s Mother Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Damaya’s Mother appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Damaya, in winters past
Freedom Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...Damaya’s bedroom, while Damaya herself is now locked in the family’s barn. She hears her Mother and a strange man enter. The man’s voice is accented and sounds “smart,” and she... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...the barn that she has been using as a bathroom, and he subtly reprimands Damaya’s Mother for not even providing her a bucket to use. Damaya almost laughs aloud to hear... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The strange man starts to climb the ladder to Damaya’s loft, though Mother angrily calls for her to come down. The man tells Damaya (using her use-caste name,... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Damaya follows the man back down the ladder, where the man asks Mother to give Damaya some food, clothing, and a coat for their travels. Mother is flustered... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...that Damaya will still need protection from the cold on their way to Yumenes, and Mother seems surprised that he really is taking Damaya there. The man then comments that Mother... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...the strange man is a “Guardian,” and he affirms that he is now her Guardian. Mother leaves to get a blanket for Damaya, and then the man, who is dressed in... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...because it isn’t safe. She doesn’t understand, but she makes herself stop anyway. Just then, Mother returns to the barn with the blanket, along with Father. Neither of them will look... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa hands Damaya the blanket that Mother brought, and Damaya realizes that it is the one Muh Dear sewed for her. Damaya... (full context)