Comment on A Necklace of Acorns

  1. pen & ink sketch of a sunset over the ocean

    Okay, details!

    So, first of all I love the way you opened each section with a quote. The little bit of mythology about the Moon is so intriguing -- I can't help wondering if the "two lands" refers to A-Io and Thu, or to the continent they both share and the other continent where Benbili is located, or even to Urras and Anarres. I suppose, like all good myths, it is multipurpose and can be reinterpreted as necessary. Odo's saying is tart and wise, and I like the implication in the history text that people expected the Odonian movement to die when Odo did, not having realized that even before her death it had in some ways outgrown her, and that inspiring that ability to breathe and change and adapt was her greatest achievement.

    I like the nickname for Premier Inoilte, because that is exactly the sort of thing people do. The mooning was a beautiful protest gesture, and then the way people panicked when the army came was very believable. It also shows how scared of Odo the government of A-Io was -- you don't call out the army for a harmless, toothless movement. I hope Briki got to Anarres one way or another, and that his family was equally inspired to find a way out of the trap of immigrant poverty. (I hadn't really thought about immigration being an issue on Urras, but of course it would have been, both before and after the Settlement of Anarres.) And finally, I like that the soldiers disrespect Inoilte in their own way, even while they carry out their inhumane orders to hunt down Odo and presumably anyone else who might have been tangentially connected to the riot. If Briki hadn't been able to fake an upper class Iotic accent, that scene might have played out very differently.

    I love the entirety of the second section! The way Resa knows exactly why Odo is there instead of at a more prestigious magazine (one that does "real" news, one written by and for men), and the way she and Odo both don't mention the limitations that have forced this interview on them is a lovely bit of character development and world-building intertwined. I love the focus on Odo's hair here, and the way the cultural obsession with feminine hairlessness is like an exaggerated mirror of the modern Western obsession with selective feminine hairlessness -- that was always there in canon, but the use of the advertising campaign, the fashion shoots, the trouble women with allergies or skin sensitivities have in living up to that artificial ideal... yeah, I love that. And even though Resa hates having to conform and the trouble it causes her, she still instinctively recoils from Odo's hair and thinks of her as a sheep. It's painful because it's true. And then she ditches the canned interview and starts asking real questions. That part, I love, because it shows how Odo could make people wake up and think, even if they didn't end up agreeing with her or joining her cause.

    The quietness of the final section is an interesting contrast to the fierceness of the first two. The movement has grown now -- it has a momentum of its own, a certain weight and inevitability rather than a hardscrabble fight with its back against the wall. I like that even though the people came saying it wasn't a real march without Odo, they concluded that they would march in her memory. Also, this line -- ‘Time’s like water in the desert,’ she always said, and then she’d laugh and add, ‘What do I know, I’ve never lived in a desert.’ -- is very striking, especially when you know what happened to the Movement later on, and the way The Dispossessed is centered around (among many other things) an attempt to understand the nature of time.

    To sum up, I love each section in its own way, and I would be thrilled to read any further things you have to say about Odo and her movement! Thank you again for writing and sharing this fic. :-)

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