Ursula K. Le Guin American Literature Analysis
Jungian psychoanalysis and Daoism are central to Le Guin’s worldview, though she has been influenced by many other thinkers and writers and by her lifelong interest in anthropology. Many of her novels and stories explore oppositions between, on one hand, an aggressive, technological, male-dominated culture that depends upon coercive controls to produce and maintain social order and, on the other hand, a more peace-loving, egalitarian, female dominated culture that depends on consensus and nature-based “magic” and ritual for social cohesion and cooperation. Though a reader might easily conclude that Le Guin would simply affirm the egalitarian in place of the authoritarian mode, Le Guin’s Daoism and Jungian ideas lead her to recognize that both sides of this opposition are necessary to human existence. The tension between them produces change and the possibility of progress, keeping society lively and interesting. The key to a culture’s success in Le Guin’s works is achieving a balance between these human tendencies that is creative and life-affirming. A culture that allows either tendency to stifle the other becomes stagnant, oppressive, and finally deadly.
Though this opposition is central to her work, Le Guin does not believe that the basis of writing is conflict. In her essay, “Conflict,” from Dancing at the Edge of the World, she writes that to base one’s writing on conflict is “to use an aspect of existence, conflict, to...
(The entire section is 2851 words.)
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