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The Dispossessed

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The Dispossessed Cover

ISBN13: 9780060512750
ISBN10: 006051275x
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Shevek, citizen and acclaimed physicist of the world Anarres, believes that he must free his people from the walls that they have built around their anarchist state, blocking out all other worlds. A freethinker and believer in the power of revolution and the individual's right to self-rule, Shevek must risk all to discover the truth about the land that his people escaped from, Urras.

But all is not as he believes on the glittering world of Urras. Coddled within the ivory towers of its university, Shevek is prohibited from seeing the real world of Urras, the world of the poor and indigent from which his people came. Although shunned by his Odonian society for his cutting-edge theories, the Urrasti hold him captive for his knowledge of the General Temporal Theory, a theory that could bring the Urrasti all the power and fortune they desire.

Aware that he has only traded one set of walls for another, Shevek must make an even more dangerous journey if he is truly to succeed in his ultimate mission of fostering understanding and true brotherhood among the races. Enlisting the aid of sympathetic Urrasti and aliens from Terra and Hain, Shevek succeeds in evading the propertarian Urrasti and shares his knowledge with the universe. For it is only when there is a true understanding, that he can finally return home to a new world.

Questions for Discussion

1. Throughout the novel, the reader is introduced to numerous characters. Who was your favorite and why? Did you have a favorite race of people? Who did you identify with the most?

2. Shevek believes that he made a mistake in putting his trust, his life, in the hands of the Urrasti. Do you agree? What else could he have done? Did he find his utopia in the end?

3. There are many morals and words of wisdom for today's society throughout the novel. What are they? Should they be viewed as warnings? Which one was most important to you?

4. Do you believe that the Odonian society is somehow more moral than the Urrasti? How are the power structures disguised in the Odonian societal model? What is the importance of owning nothing?

5. Shevek states, "Revolution is our obligation; our hope of evolution." If a society is founded upon revolution, as Shevek believes, is it the people's responsibility to maintain the mindset that made the initial revolt possible?

6. Every struggle has its "Odo." Who is the Odo for the following struggles: Civil Rights, Women's Liberation, South African Apartheid, to name a few. Can you think of others? Who are they?

7. What do you think is a more effective tool of governing, popular opinion or laws? Is it our fear of getting caught or of being shunned by our neighbors and society that keep us honest?

8. How does Shevek grow throughout the course of the novel? How effective is the use of flashbacks in every other chapter? Can they really be considered flashbacks once you understand the theories of time with which Shevek is struggling?

9. What role does the family structure play within Odonian society? How are Shevek and Tekver revolutionaries in this aspect?

10. Were you surprised when Shevek decides to go to the Hainish and not the Thuvians, being the enemies of the Urrasti? How do you think each culture will use his theory?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Marjorie Madonne, May 19, 2008 (view all comments by Marjorie Madonne)
I've always loved Le Guin. The Dispossessed is a true classic of the genre -- beautifully written and very moving. I recently reread it after many years, along with The Left Hand of Darkness, another Le Guin classic. Both are as good as ever, not dated at all.
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(12 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
funnyc8e, May 9, 2008 (view all comments by funnyc8e)
Quintessential LeGuin. Quintessential reading for the failed, frustrated, dead-ended, but still dreaming revolutionary in you. Don't be afraid of failure. Dig in.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060512750
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Author:
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Author:
Green, Tim 3994
Publisher:
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Life on other planets
Subject:
Physicists
Subject:
Communal living
Subject:
Anarchism
Subject:
Utopian fiction
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reissue ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
Perennial Classics
Series Volume:
03-010
Publication Date:
August 14, 2003
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.93 in 16.05 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Classics

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