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.

Sessapinae Term Analysis

Sessapinae are organs that can sense seismic movements, and are located in the brain stem of all human beings living in the Stillness. Sessapinae are larger and more developed in orogenes, and a mysterious operation is performed on some children of orogenes to make them into Guardians. The verbal form of using the sessapinae is to “sess,” or sense the movements of the earth.
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Sessapinae Term Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the term Sessapinae appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: you are here
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...man is standing on a hill outside the city, looking down on Yumenes. With his “sessapinae,” he can feel all the delicate movements of the city’s millions of inhabitants. He speaks... (full context)
Chapter 2: Damaya, in winters past
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...barn, and Mother sullenly defends herself again. As they approach, Damaya notes that she cannot “sess” the footsteps of the strange man, though this is something she usually can detect, and... (full context)
Chapter 3: you’re on your way
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...wave of overwhelming anger. She stops and calms herself, and briefly uses her orogeny to sess that there are no open vents in the earth nearby. (full context)
Chapter 8: Syenite on the highroad
Power and Control Theme Icon
...and that a fault line isn’t created at this spot. With Alabaster’s power, she can sess the earth better than ever before, and the work is easy. As soon as Syen... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...On the road, people actually seem relieved to see them, as even “stills” could have sessed the disaster that almost took place and they are grateful to see Fulcrum orogenes now.... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...Alabaster shows her something else—a scar at the base of the node maintainer’s neck. Orogenes’ sessapinae are larger than other people’s, he explains, and the node maintainer has been operated on... (full context)
Chapter 9: Syenite among the enemy
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
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Going on, Alabaster says that he can sess the coral obstruction in the harbor already, and that they must have paid a huge... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
...tenets, but Syen never imagined that someone could have so much control that they could sess and move microscopic substances within their own body. (full context)
Chapter 12: Syenite finds a new toy
Power and Control Theme Icon
...the harbor, Syenite immediately meets a strange obstacle that she’s never encountered before. She can sess the coral on the bottom of the harbor, but she realizes that it has actually... (full context)
Chapter 14: Syenite breaks her toys
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
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...discreetly. She catches on and takes his arm, also realizing that no one else can sess the pulse coming from the obelisk. Alabaster says that something is wrong with it, and... (full context)
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Time seems to stop. Syenite still cannot sess anything, and she can see Alabaster convulsing in agony nearby. Suddenly she becomes incredibly angry,... (full context)
Chapter 16: Syen in the hidden land
Power and Control Theme Icon
...to the ocean, and near to Allia but much colder and rockier. She tries to sess the tectonic plate beneath her but finds that she can hardly feel anything. Then she... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...themselves, and there is an operation performed on them where something is implanted into their sessapinae. This gives them the ability to negate others’ orogeny, among other things. Hearing this, Syenite’s... (full context)
Chapter 17: Damaya, in finality
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...means: the massive building of Main is circular in shape, but over time she has sessed and deduced that there is a large, hexagonal empty space in its center, around which... (full context)
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Damaya now starts walking down the corridor until she comes to the place where she sessed the gap in the inner wall—it’s inside what seems to be a closed office building.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
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...opens a closet in the room. It seems like the right place, but she can sess that there is a missing gap beyond it, between the closet and the inner wall... (full context)
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Binof blunders ahead in the dark, and Damaya warns her to be careful, sessing that there’s something heavy and pressed down ahead—some kind of big hole. Suddenly lights activate... (full context)
Chapter 18: you discover wonders down below
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...doesn’t answer and instead directs them onward. The chapter ends with an Innovator’s quotation about sessapinae, saying that they are sensitive to seismic movements but also many other things, including other... (full context)
Chapter 19: Syenite on the lookout
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
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Syenite still feels guilty, though—she can now sess further than before, oddly, and so can appreciate just how terrible things are in Allia.... (full context)
Chapter 22: Syenite, fractured
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...holding Corundum and looking worriedly at Alabaster, who is on his feet and tensed, clearly sessing something in the distance. Syenite sends out her own orogeny and feels nothing—but it’s a... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
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...Syen realizes what they mean to do—bring down Alabaster’s wall around the harbor. She can sess the rogga’s attack on the wall as she runs back down to the docks where... (full context)