The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Jija Character Analysis

Jija is a man of the Resistant use-caste who is Essun’s husband in Tirimo, and the father of her children Nassun and Uche. Jija never actually appears in person in The Fifth Season, but he is described as a likeable, honest man who was never violent and seemed to love his wife and children. Despite this, the novel begins just after Jija has seemingly beaten his two-year-old son Uche to death and fled with Nassun after learning that his wife and children are orogenes. Essun spends much of her plotline pursuing Jija, wanting to confront him about Uche’s death and then kill him in retribution.

Jija Quotes in The Fifth Season

The The Fifth Season quotes below are all either spoken by Jija or refer to Jija. 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 10 Quotes

You think, maybe, you need to be someone else.

You’re not sure who. Previous yous have been stronger and colder, or warmer and weaker; either set of qualities is better suited to getting you through the mess you’re in. Right now you’re cold and weak, and that helps no one.

You could become someone new, maybe. You’ve done that before; it’s surprisingly easy. A new name, a new focus, then try on the sleeves and slacks of a new personality to find the perfect fit. A few days and you’ll feel like you’ve never been anyone else.

But. Only one you is Nassun’s mother. That’s what’s forestalled you so far, and ultimately it’s the deciding factor. At the end of all this, when Jija is dead and it’s finally safe to mourn your son…if she still lives, Nassun will need the mother she’s known all her life.

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite, Nassun, Jija, Uche
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Fifth Season LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Fifth Season PDF

Jija Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Jija appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: you, at the end
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...last 10 years, working as a teacher at the local “creche.” Her husband is named Jija, a member of the Resistant use-caste. Essun has two children, one who is now missing... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...gets into bed and sleeps for a long time. At one point, she dreams of Jija killing Uche, with Uche laughing and wiggling even as his father murders him. Essun wakes... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Lerna then brings up Uche, and Essun says that she knows Jija is the one who killed him. According to Lerna, the big earthquake destroyed everything nearby... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...speak again, she tells Lerna that she wasn’t the one who revealed Uche’s orogeny to Jija—the child must have done something that gave himself away. Essun asks Lerna if he’s going... (full context)
Chapter 3: you’re on your way
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...decides that she must first try to find wherever her daughter Nassun is buried, if Jija even buried her. By now, the rest of the people of Tirimo will have recognized... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...beneath the floor. It contains extra clothes, some money, and a knife. Essun decides that Jija’s boots can be traded away— if she ever finds him, she will question him about... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...immediately tells him that she won’t hurt anyone, and she asks if he knows where Jija went. Suspecting what happened, Rask asks Essun if Jija killed Uche. Essun cannot say “yes”... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Rask asks if Jija was ever violent before. “Never,” Essun replies, but she thinks that maybe it would have... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...even refuse to do so until Rask gets angry. Rask then apologizes to Essun about Jija and wishes her luck on her search. Essun feels strange leaving Tirimo, which has been... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...of Uche’s death, and she sees the entire town of Tirimo as if it were Jija himself. What finally stops her rampage is hearing the cry of a little boy as... (full context)
Chapter 5: you’re not alone
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...she decides, as that’s the only “sane way to go” and so must be where Jija is as well. (full context)
Chapter 7: you plus one is two
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...him off at a comm on the way to the salt plains, where she thinks Jija might have stopped. They leave the road and head toward a creek, and at one... (full context)
Chapter 15: you’re among friends
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...prove their worth. Essun decides that she wants to meet these people and hopes that Jija and Nassun really are here but in disguise, or that someone here has at least... (full context)
Chapter 21: you’re getting the band back together
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...she has lived with a man who truly cared about her, though the last time—with Jija—was built on a foundation of lies. Lerna tries to comfort her, and Essun starts to... (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
...she had to hide her true self to do it. Briefly she tries to explain Jija, Uche, and Nassun, but her words trail off. Finally, Alabaster tells her that he can... (full context)