Brain Candy Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    The Powell's Playlist | September 25, 2015

    Caitlin Doughty: IMG Caitlin Doughty's Playlist for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    The soundtrack perfectly suited to facing your own mortality. ("My Way," "Wind beneath My Wings," and other popular funeral songs need not apply.)... Continue »
    1. $11.17 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list


The Dispossessed


The Dispossessed Cover

ISBN13: 9780060512750
ISBN10: 006051275x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $10.95!



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

Add a comment for a chance to win!
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

A Novel
Le Guin, Ursula K.
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Green, Tim 3994
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
New York
Science Fiction - General
Science fiction
Life on other planets
Communal living
Utopian fiction
Science / General
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Edition Number:
Reissue ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Hainish Cycle
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
August 14, 2003
Grade Level:
9 x 6 x 0.93 in 16.05 oz

Other books you might like

  1. The Left Hand of Darkness...
    Used Trade Paper $6.00
  2. The Left Hand of Darkness
    New Trade Paper $16.00
  3. A Wizard of Earthsea: The First Book... Used Trade Paper $8.00
  4. The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  5. Accelerando
    Used Mass Market $4.50
  6. Neuromancer
    Used Mass Market $4.95

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
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Sale Books

The Dispossessed Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Perennial - English 9780060512750 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at