Homework Help

In "A Wizard of Earthsea" in chapter three, why does the author use the...

user profile pic

danigyrl | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 18, 2008 at 10:57 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In "A Wizard of Earthsea" in chapter three, why does the author use the unique writing device of having her characters answer in riddles?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 19, 2008 at 8:22 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Well, first, I have to disagree with part of your question: the writing device is not unique. For hundreds of years, riddles have been part of fantasy and fairy tale literature. This ranges from the myth of Oedipus to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Now, as far as why LeGuin does it, she does it to create an air of mystery about Roke. This is for the readers—she's making it seem strange—but also for Ged. These wizards deal in esoteric knowledge. They study, and deal with, the hidden elements of life and the world. Riddles are a verbal way of showing this, and force the speaker and listener to demonstrate their mutual fitness to engage in magic.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes