Dylan Poon

"Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you"

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A Wizard of EarthSea Style Analysis

Question: What stood out about Le Guin’s overall writing style in chapter 1 of this novel?

When reading Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of EarthSea, the things that stood out most to me were the direct-to-the-point writing style, the slightly passive nature of her choice to write in the 3rd person, as well as the descriptions in her writing. When reading the first chapter of this book, the reader is presented with a direct summary of the person that the main character will become, as well as where he started. She tells us the story through direct points in Duny’s life that matter to the story, leaving out details that would not add to the story or character. Le Guin also tells us the story using essay-like language that transitions into a very fantasy-writing-type sentence, such as “This was Duny’s first step on the way he was to follow all his life, the way of magery, the way that led him at last to hunt a shadow over land and sea to the lightless coasts of death’s kingdom.” pg. 5. The first bit to that quote seems like something out a book review, but the middle to the end of the sentence becomes mystical and much more descriptive than expected. This type of sentence structure is used a couple of times throughout the first chapter, creating a mysterious feeling that engages the reader into wanting to know more, as well as reinforcing the 3rd person point of view that Le Guin writes in. Her third person point of view’s writing, as mentioned before, is written like an essay, using language such as ‘this’, ‘as’ and ‘when’ to start sentences. The outstanding part of using the essay-like language is how Le Guin then adds in description unexpectedly, seen when “Some of the band stopped when they felt the land grow rough underfoot, but others pressed right on, seeking the phantom village, following dim wavering shapes that fled just out of reach before them.” pg.13. This sentence seems like it would be a short sentence with not much description, ending at the first comma, but gives us a vivid picture in our heads of what is happening in the novel. Frequent but not overused usage of the unexpected descriptions allows the reader to see what is happening in the world, without knowing every detail. This contributes to the mystical sense that the writing gives us. Overall, Le Guin’s novel takes advantage of being direct, writing in the 3rd person and giving good descriptions to stand out from other fantasy novels.

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