The Word for World Is Forest

by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 234

The Word for World Is Forest is a novella by the science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin. A good place to start your paper about the book is with the world’s setting, which is the planet of Athshe. This world was colonized by humans from Earth, or “Terra,” as it’s called in the book.

There were native people there, called Athsheans, before the humans arrived. The humans who colonized the world enslaved them and treated them cruelly. The main character, an Athshean named Selver, had his wife taken into slavery by the humans. Eventually, she is killed by Captain Don Davidson, who is the commander of Smith Camp, one of the human camps on Athshe.

As a result of his experiences, Selver becomes a hero of his people and helps to eventually drive the humans out of their planet. The Athsheans lose some of their innocence in the process, though, since they hadn’t ever been a violent people before the humans arrived.

Another thing you could write about in your paper about the book is how the Athsheans are only around three feet tall, with greenish fur, and their peace-loving nature makes it easy for humans to conquer them. The plot is all about how imperialistic humans tend to conquer and take what they want when not held in check, and these pieces of the story help to support that.

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