The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Fifth Season can help.
Grits are orogene children brought to the Fulcrum to be trained, before they have earned their first rings. At this point they are seen as being like grit: small pieces of rock ready to be polished, or at the very least ready to polish others and be destroyed in the process.

Grits Quotes in The Fifth Season

The The Fifth Season quotes below are all either spoken by Grits or refer to Grits. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 11 Quotes

You are representatives of us all, the instructors say, if any grit dares to protest this treatment. When you’re dirty, all orogenes are dirty. When you’re lazy, we’re all lazy. We hurt you so you’ll do the rest of us no harm.

Once Damaya would have protested the unfairness of such judgments. The children of the Fulcrum are all different: different ages, different colors, different shapes. […] One cannot reasonably expect sameness out of so much difference, and it makes no sense for Damaya to be judged by the behavior of children who share nothing save the curse of orogeny with her.

But Damaya understands now that the world is not fair. They are orogenes, the Misalems of the world, born cursed and terrible. This is what is necessary to make them safe.

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite, Misalem
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

(Friends do not exist. The Fulcrum is not a school. Grits are not children. Orogenes are not people. Weapons have no need of friends.)

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite
Page Number: 297
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Fifth Season LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Fifth Season PDF

Grits Term Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the term Grits appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Syenite, cut and polished
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...Yumenes. As she crosses the gardens, Syenite sees other ringed orogenes, as well as young “grits” who haven’t yet passed their first-ring test. She also sees a few Guardians, dressed in... (full context)
Chapter 11: Damaya at the fulcrum of it all
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...the Fulcrum and slowly adjusting to an entirely new way of life. She is a “grit” now—the term for all the young orogenes before they get their first rings. Her daily... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
After their inspections, the grits have lessons from their various instructors, learning things like the history of the Sanze empire... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...to endure a broken hand and years as a lonely student. In the afternoon, the grits practice actual orogeny, and Damaya throws herself into these lessons. They focus on control, never... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
The next day, the other grits start treating Damaya differently. Someone purposefully bumps into her in the shower, and when she... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...and whose orogeny seems especially harsh and dangerous. Her name is Selu, but the other grits have started calling her “Crack.” Damaya decides to make Crack her ally and approaches her... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
...have been a boy because it happened during the girls’ shower. Some of the other grits make fun of her, but Damaya insists that they search the boys’ chests. (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...the girls apologizes to Damaya for pushing her in the shower. After this, the other grits don’t bully Damaya anymore. Jasper is sent to a satellite Fulcrum in the Arctic, and... (full context)
Chapter 17: Damaya, in finality
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...free hour after dinner to explore the Fulcrum grounds. There is little supervision of the grits during this time unless they enter the forbidden Ring Garden, so no one gives her... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...time to herself, seemingly secret from the universal order that is imposed on all the grits of the Fulcrum. (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
One day, however, a girl entirely unfamiliar to Damaya joins her group of grits on their march through Ring Garden. They have just finished their Applied Orogeny lesson, during... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...they might hurt themselves, and Damaya stops her and reminds that they aren’t children: they’re grits. No one cares if they get hurt, and Binof needs to start acting like this... (full context)