Le Guin’s Opposition to Traditional View about Children Literature: A Critical Analysis of “What might Provoked Le Guin towrite a Wizard of Earthsea” In an age that taught its coming-of-age children to carefully hide and suppress the dark and dominating side of a man’s self to be gentle and civilized, Ursula K Le Guin’s novel, “Wizard of Earthsea” ushers in a new horizon in English literature with the idea that the youngsters of the society must explore these very dark aspects of human beings in order to achieve maturity. While writing the novel, Le Guin might have been provoked to address the society’s traditional negligence to children’s literature as something that need not deserve serious attention of the authority.
In an article, “The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists”, Le Guin says, “children’s books must be included in serious discussion of literature, and one reason we give is that many of the great works of imaginative fiction can be under- stood and appreciated by a child as well as by an adult and vice versa” (Guin 85). Being motivated by such concern, she has tried to endow the novel with a serious and philosophical dimension that will necessarily draw the attentions of serious readers other than the young ones.
Opposing the society’s view of ignoring and suppressing the darks of human existence Le Guin puts forth the proposition that adolescent must begin with the exploration of one’s self, and this self –exploration eventually culminates in maturity and adulthood. She argues that the youngsters themselves should know what the forbidden is and why it is forbidden. Obviously Le Guin’s proposition may seem as threatening as poisoning one’s self, to know why poisons are dangerous, is.
But Le Guin, as an author, is blessed with the capability to let her readers experience the forbidden and frightening part of a man’s self without endangering their psychology, keeping them free of intellectual corruption. Ursula Le Guin takes them to a world of fantasy where they are tempted to merge their selves into Ged’s self. Impulsively they participate in the protagonist’s adventure that is allegorically his exploration into his own self (Spivack 79-84). Indeed along with Ged’s struggle with his frightening, forbidden and overpowering shadow-self or anti-self, the author makes the readers perceive what ‘know thyself’ is.
The question what provoked her to write the novel may engender hot debates. Apparently the simplest answer to this question is: she wants to construct the meanings of maturity and self-discovery for her coming-of-age readers.
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