Chapter 1 questions

The main thing that stood out in the first part of Ersula Le Guin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” is her unique and fresh writing style, compared to many modern authors. One of the first things I noticed is that she doesn’t go into the different points of view of the characters within the book. An example of this third-person perspective is: “’Speak!’ she said to test the spell. The boy could not speak, but he laughed.” (9) When I used to read fantasy novels, there was always at least one character that the story was told from. You would see all their thoughts and their perspective of the story. But Le Guin has more of a camera point of view, where she describes everything from a third person point of view and can’t see the direct thoughts of the character. The second thing I noticed about the story is that there is very heavy expanded moments and imagery. Le Guin tries to add as much detail as possible into every scene and passage. A very good example of this is the scene where the witch puts a spell on Duny, right before the previous quote. “He sat while his aunt bound back her uncombed hair, and knotted the belt of her dress, and again sat cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit, so that a smoke spread and filled the darkness of the hut.” (9) This adds an extreme example of “show not tell” that’s almost overdone in my opinion. The imagery is so overdone to an extent where all we are seeing is pretty pictures, but I personally feel like there is a bit of character development lacking. The last thing I noticed in her writing style is her strong understanding of the in-world environment. I feel like when she wrote the book, she understood very well, what the setting of this fantasy world looks like, and she is able to convey that setting very well to us. We can see this in the opening of the story: “ From the towns in its high valleys and the ports on its dark narrow bays many a Gontishman has gone forth to serve the Lords of Archipelago in their cities as wizard as wizard or mage, or looking for adventure, to wander working from isle to isle of all Earthsea.” (1). It feels like this imaginary world of hers was in her head for a while and she knows its inner workings, even better then the novel describes it. I’m sure there are many dreamt up places in her universe that will never be displayed in her books, only in her imagination.

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