Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. La Guin is a book with a political agenda straight out of the era it was conceived in, but she does manage to weave her ideas into the framework of a story, so that in the end you can forgive her, or at least appreciate her position, despite a naivete that seems to have originated inside a 1960's commune.

Her version of an anarchist society, if it were a character, would be classified as a Mary Sue. It has the rose colored glasses feel that seem to stem from someone who has not been oppressed, or been an outsider, to the extent that even someone who was your friend yesterday, is secretly against you today, but with just enough of a forgivable fault so that, to the cursory examination, it appears to be well rounded.

It seems to be based on a popular fallacy that people, in general, are naturally good, self sacrificing, and humanitarian. But if you ask any child on a school ground who has been bullied, you soon realize that it is a delusion that the well off and relatively untroubled like to believe is the natural state of affairs. Similar to the tabula rasa movement of the turn of the twentieth century, and earlier, where the natural man was conceived and held up as return to serenity, peace, and cooperation with nature, the era that spawned this book seems to believe that an overriding set of rules will somehow defeat and fundamentally change human nature.

While Mrs. La Guin is an excellent writer, the book is showing its age, except for those who are still living in the mental glory days of their adolescence.

1 comment:

Beloved Autumn said...

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