Friday, October 21, 2005

Ursula Le Guin: Feminist of the Day?

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin
Writer, teacher, scholar
"Success is somebody else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty."

I read Left Hand of Darkness for a first year English paper, which was a bad idea. I did English all through high school and into second year, and I only ever liked two of the books I had to read (To Kill a Mocking Bird and Middlemarch).

I can't really judge The Left Hand of Darkness as fiction, but it didn't work for me as a feminist book. The genderless beings aren't really convincing, they came across as men, which probably says more about our society than it does about her writing. I'd say it was an interesting idea that didn't quite work.

I've also read The Dispossed, which was incredibly creepy. The social control was worst nightmare stuff. I think that was what she was going for, and that's what made it so interesting. A couple of my friend's occasionally call people 'propertarians' which I find quite unnerving - even in jest.

I really like her as a feminist. She had an essay in a collection of essays about women's experiences with illegal abortion. It was a really powerful book, and Ursula Le Guin's was one of favourites. She'd been relatively lucky, her parents had money and the abortionist was safe. She conveyed her experience of abortion, but also analysed the situation under which she'd had an abortion and what it meant.

Conclusion: Come on that quote is cool, she rocks, no reservations. Off to read this

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