Characters

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 317

The Word for World is Forest, written by Ursula K. LeGuin, is a science-fiction novella. It takes place on a fictional planet called Athshe.

Illustration of PDF document

Download The Word for World Is Forest Study Guide

Subscribe Now

There are three main characters in this novella: Don Davidson, Selver, and Raj Lyubov.

This story is told from the point of view of Captain Don Davidson. Davidson is the commander of the Smith Camp, a logging camp in which many people from Athshe are used as slaves. Davidson wishes to engage in sexual activity with women from a different town, Centralville, because the colony is mainly women. Davidson's sexual activity poses issues for him throughout the novella. Before the storyline begins, Davidson rapes Selver's wife. Later, this prompts Selver to attack Davidson. Davidson also has many racist feelings about Raj Lyubov, who is from South Asia. Unlike the other main characters, Davidson is a racist and a womanizer who dislikes when others disagree with his opinion.

Selver, an Athshean, is also known as Sam. Selver is enslaved by the Terrans, colonists from Earth. Selver begins working as a translator for Lyubov. After his wife is raped by Davidson and dies in the process, Selver attacks Davidson. Overall, Selver is very sensitive and intuitive, unlike Davidson. While Selver tells the story of his life to others, they begin to see him as a "god-like" person. He believes that the Terrans should be forced off of Athshe.

Raj Lyubov is the last of the main characters. Lyubov is an anthropologist who wishes to document the languages of the Terrans and the Athsheans. After Selver attacks Davidson and is badly injured, Lyubov nurses him back to health. Lyubov, unlike Davidson, is very self-aware and is not a racist. He often thinks about his own words and actions and analyzes how he treats the people of Athshe. Unfortunately, during an attack on the colony, Lyubov goes outside and is killed when a building falls on him.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Themes

Next

Analysis

Explore Study Guides