47 pages 1 hour read

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Lathe Of Heaven

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1971

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Essay Topics


Le Guin begins the narrative with a literary device similar to a Zen koan: a dialogue or story intended to present the reader with a challenging quandary. She asks what a jellyfish will do when cast out of the ocean onto a sunny beach. Why does she begin with this question, and what effect does it have on the narrative?


The author names her main character after George Orwell, the author of another futuristic book, 1984, written in 1949. Both are dystopian books with bleak outlooks for the future of humanity. Compare and contrast the two texts as they relate to the character of George and the narrative presented by George Orwell.


Taoism, a major influence in the thinking of the author, teaches the virtue of leading a simple life and seeking balance. How does George embody these precepts? How does Haber contradict them? What are the pros and cons to each character’s life philosophy, and how do they influence the text?

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