Jennifer’s Blog on Orleans (70-159)

Hi all-

I am posting Jennifer’s response on Orleans for her because she had some trouble getting it to appear on the blog. Comment below!

-Prof. Tran


Sherri Smiths Orleans (70-159)

I don’t want to pin point on a specific passage within these pages because I would like to focus this blog on the importance a minor character has in the development of this story. Within these pages Fen is faced with the “most important job of her life”, her final fable to the character who had died in the first few pages, Lydia. Lydia is dead, and even without her physical presence she effects how the story moves forward. Fen focuses solely on her journey because she promised Lydia. Many times in the story Fen needs to remind herself why she’s doing all of this, and who’s she’s doing this for. She needs to remind herself about Lydia, or she sees Lydia in the eyes of her daughter, no matter what Lydia’s character is what pushes this plot further. Although she is not physically present Lydia’s minor character role is important to the structure of the novel.

Another topic I would like to focus is on the differences of the language from the beginning of the novel to where we stopped now. In the beginning Fen’s broken English isn’t as noticeable because the people she was interacting with also spoke like that. The reader grows a capacity of understanding the characters at a deep level, so when the reader was reading this constant broken English throughout the beginning of the novel it was almost acceptable. But when the character of Daniel is introduced the reader can now see how wrong Fen’s language really is, because it is being read right next to the doctors seemingly perfect English. The importance of the different forms of language goes to show the different societies they were raised in. One was living in a society filled with fear and war and suffrage while the other lived in a modern society we are accustomed too. The differences are made evident to the readers beginning with the way both characters speak.


8 thoughts on “Jennifer’s Blog on Orleans (70-159)

  1. I really find your point about Lydia to be very interesting. She is a good example of how even the most minor characters in a story are included for a reason. Lydia was attempting to bring unity among the blood tribes in Orleans, to Fen she represented someone who had the potential to fulfill the promise of a better future. The attack on Lydia’s tribe was suspicious, implying that Lydia’s beliefs may have been opposed by other tribes. But also, her memory and Fen’s promise to give her baby a better life, spurs Fen onward in her journey. In a way, it’s similar to the origin stories of superheroes, i.e the death of a loved one leads to a desire for justice. I think that the death of Lydia is meant to serve as Fen’s reason to pursue a better future, not just for Baby Girl, but for herself and maybe even Orleans as a whole.



  2. I definitely love how you focused on Lydia with your analysis, and I really like Siri’s input that this can relate to a superheros origin. I never looked at it like that but the death of Lydia and having to take care of the child that is left behind could of been the fire inside of our “hero” that we needed to watch her evolve and be able to take leadership and avenge a new and better life for the daughter. The memory of Lydia and the promise that is made is a bond that Fen will carry with her throughout the duration of the novel.
    -Nicole Crippen


  3. Lydia’s impact on Fen is like you said extremely powerful because everything that she is doing right now is for Lydia and her baby. There are several times where Fen could have abandoned Baby Girl but she decides not to, and all of Fen’s life purpose is now to make sure Baby Girl survives. She mentions when her and Daniel are captured by the blood hunters that as long as Baby Girl gets another day to live, and she has done all that can, then she has fulfilled her promise and duty to Lydia. I like how you mention Fen’s language because it shows the reader how much of an impact Daniel had on Fen as well because they’re spending so much time together. By the end of these last few chapters, it is evident that Fen is also softening up towards Daniel and is trying to not be as sarcastic and crude all the time.
    -Vennela Gadde


  4. The phrase “most important job” places a lot of weight on Fen’s shoulders, and yet it is very fitting. Beyond it being her best friend’s daughter, she is in a dying society with a declining population. Children are immensely important in her time and place. So any risks, any harm that may come to Baby Girl, well, that will weigh heavily on Fen’s conscience. She needs to ensure her survival.


  5. I love how you talk about Lydia’s role in the story and how Fen is so focused on her promise to her. I think that your analysis of the language between Daniel and Fen is very interesting. I find that Fen’s broken English is a symbol of how much education was not really necessary in the society of Orleans. The structure of Orleans is focused on survival not on being more civilized and mannered. As time goes on and Fen spends more time with Daniel she learns a better grasp of English almost to say that she is becoming civilized. I feel that the author uses language to show how much each characters influence each other.

    -Serina Thomas


  6. I definitely agree that the author does a good job of using Lydia as a pretty substantial part of the novel, even though her character is dead. I think that this is an important technique because it shows how every aspect of a story is important to the overall picture. Lydia’s presence also reveals aspects of Fen’s characters. We learn that Fen is very devoted to the promise that she made to Lydia, which shows that Fen is dependable.


  7. This passage definitely expresses the interaction between Lydia and Fen throughout the novel, and really exemplifies her presence and impact on Fen. I like how you noticed the way that language was effected and changed toward the end of the novel, I think that coincides with the overall change that is happening during the course of the novel, also, the comparison in the language differences between the two classes and environments. It shows how drastic the separation between the groups effects different aspects of their culture (language).

    John Sieg


  8. In this response I’d like to focus on the second half of your blog post. It’s important to understand that different characters in Orleans use different speech patterns, and many environmental and social factors result in particular verbal quirks and mannerisms. However, calling Fen’s way of speaking “Broken English” undermines the value of how she speaks. Fen’s way of speaking isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just different. Her way of speaking uses a slightly altered grammatical structure, but individuals within the environment she inhabits successfully communicate with one another. For example, in “proper English”, double negatives cancel each other out, leaving the speaker without an affirmative or negative position. Conversely, the grammar of the language spoken by Fen (and others in her community) might have a grammatical structure where a double negative is used for emphasis; here a phrase such as “ain’t no” means “there absolutely isn’t anything.” Because Fen’s speech is grammatically similar enough to “proper English”, readers will assume that the “broken” sound of Fen’s speech is somehow inferior to their own.


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