The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Uche Character Analysis

Uche is Essun’s two-year-old son with Jija, born in Tirimo. The novel begins just after Jija has murdered Uche, presumably after the toddler accidentally revealed himself as an orogene. Uche is described as a happy, giggling child who was also an incredibly powerful orogene, apparently drawing an obelisk to himself even before he could speak.

Uche Quotes in The Fifth Season

The The Fifth Season quotes below are all either spoken by Uche or refer to Uche. 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:
Chapter 15 Quotes

You’ve always known better. How dare you expect anything else? You’re just another filthy, rusty-souled rogga, just another agent of the Evil Earth, just another mistake of sensible breeding practices, just another mislaid tool. You should never have had children in the first place, and you shouldn’t have expected to keep them once you did […]

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite, Nassun, Uche
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Fifth Season PDF

Uche Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Uche appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: you are here
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...woman, who is introduced as Essun. She is 42 years old, and her dead son Uche was almost 3. Essun knows that Uche’s father is the one who has beaten him... (full context)
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
...the narrator says that the “you” he is addressing is Essun, the orogene whose son Uche is dead. Essun has lived in Tirimo for the last 10 years, working as a... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...works as a doctor. Lerna sees what has happened and gently leads Essun away from Uche’s body, saying that she can rest at his house. Essun can barely speak, and she... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...are full of refugees. Essun then remembers two days earlier, when she was sitting with Uche’s body and felt an enormous earthquake coming their way. Without even thinking, Essun used her... (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... (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
...is able to 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... (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
...do next and who to become. The self that Essun has inhabited lately “died with Uche,” and it doesn’t make sense for her to try to be that woman anymore. She... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...boots can be traded away— if she ever finds him, she will question him about Uche’s death and Nassun’s whereabouts, and then she will kill him. Leaving the house, Essun briefly... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...if he knows where Jija went. Suspecting what happened, Rask asks Essun if Jija killed Uche. Essun cannot say “yes” aloud, but she nods. Sighing, Rask says that no one knows... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...her, but Essun rages to herself, blaming Rask and all the people of Tirimo for Uche’s murder. Suddenly the earth splits open, buildings collapse, and a rockslide takes out part of... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The destruction continues as Essun lets herself fully feel the pain of Uche’s death, and she sees the entire town of Tirimo as if it were Jija himself.... (full context)
Chapter 7: you plus one is two
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...seems too young to be lying so effectively. Thinking about him briefly makes her remember Uche, and she purposefully has to steer her thoughts away from her dead son. (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
...that she’s “weird.” She helps him get dressed, but this action makes her think of Uche, and she has to go away by herself for a while to recover. When she... (full context)
Chapter 15: you’re among friends
Power and Control Theme Icon
...reminds her of the day she quieted the massive shake from the north to protect Uche’s body. This seems to dispel her rising panic, though, and Essun looks up to see... (full context)
Chapter 21: you’re getting the band back together
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...another one, and it had picked up speed in the last two or three years. Uche was almost three, Essun thinks, so the other obelisk must have been heading for him.... (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
...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 understand... (full context)