The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin’s Style

What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?

In Ursula Le Guin’s The Wizard of Earthsea there are many examples of different literary techniques in action. Of these techniques, the use of imagery and expanded moments stood out the most. Le Guin uses these techniques with skill and finesse to give emphasis to different moments, objects, and characters. For example, when introducing Duny’s aunt, Le Guin describes her house saying that “[…] the children feared the place. It was low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung drying from the crosspole of the roof […]” (pg. 3-4). Although Le Guin never directly describes Duny’s aunt, we learn so much from just an explanation of the character’s house. Le Guin also uses imagery to instill feelings. When the Krags attack, time seems to slow down as Duny feels as if “he should die, spitted on a Kargish lance, while still a boy: […] without ever having known his own name, his true name as a man.” (pg. 10). Again, without being told the feeling itself, we all know and feel the terror of believing in one’s own death. Another example is when Le Guin skips a month to “[…] the day [Duny] was thirteen years-old,” (pg. 16). By doing this, Le Guin creates emphasis on Duny’s “[…] Passage at the feast of Sunreturn this winter” by showing that a single day is more important than an entire month. If she had not done this, and Ogion were to name Duny right away, this moment wouldn’t feel as impactful as it had. In conclusion, Ursula Le Guin uses these techniques to put meaning and emphasis behind certain events and moments throughout the story by telling and not showing and using the expanded moment with great skill.

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