[DWJ] Newly discovered books

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Sat Aug 4 15:54:30 EDT 2007


On 04/08/07, ANDREW BARTON <andrew.157barton at btinternet.com> wrote:
> Fri, 3 Aug 2007 17:57:39 -0400 (EDT)
> From: deborah.dwj at suberic.net
> <snip>
>   > As a science fiction
> reader, I'm used to seeing metaphors or analogies in practically
> every text, because most science fiction has that element of
> thought experiment in it in some way -- yet at the same time, I
> can certainly recognize the difference between a "The Word for
> World Is Forest" (Vietnam War bad! Racism bad!) ... <
>
>   That's a curious book.  It contains no human female characters are all.  There is not one reference to an individual woman, they always occur and are referred to in groups.
>
>   I imagine this is a deliberate device to avoid losing the reader's sympathy for the natives in the shock of the ending.
>
>   Andrew
>

Probably not. LeGuin came late to feminism and the idea that maybe a
few female characters are needed to make a plausible world. In The
Dispossessed there are  three women: the dead saint, the good mother,
and the whore.  LeGuin herself has written essays on her growing
feminist consciousness--she wrote a short story based on Gethen where
she used only female pronouns to see how it would feel.

I should add: The Word for World is Forest is my favourite LeGuin.

cheers
Farah



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