A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea

Essay assignment here a-wizard-of-earthsea-soph-essay.doc

Peer edit sheet for the Wizard essay peer-response-to-the-wizard.doc

Mandala assignment: Construct or draw a mandala as a response to the story of A Wizard of Earthsea. I encourage you to go to my Honors English II page/sub-page A Wizard of Earthsea and look at the link to mandalas. I also encourage you to research the concept before formulating your ideas. Your mandala must be a circle with other shapes and colors within, demonstrating attention to Hero Journey of color, shape, position, number, and any other ideas you think are important from the novel. Your mandala must be turned in with a written (typed) explanation that will allow the viewer to more fully interpret your insights.
The Mandala project is due Mon., March 17. Be prepared to present your work to the class.

  • Visit here for background on Le Guin and her fiction.
  • Another important site for background on both the author and the Earthsea Trilogy.
  • Visit Ursula K. Le Guin‘s website to find all kinds of great information, including UKL reading an excerpt from The Wizard of Earthsea.
  • Go to the HHS Writing Guide, Literature and Poetry, and check out Archetypes, Hero Journey, and Symbolism.

“[Le Guin’s] extensive exposure to Native American legends as well as Norse mythology is evident in her writing (Spivack, p. 2). The latter is quite apparent in The Earthsea Trilogy with the use of the Kargs, a fair-skinned, blond race of big, strong people who worship dual or brother gods. Another aspect of Le Guin’s background, prominent in much of her writing, is noticeable in this trilogy. Earthsea revolves around the principles of Taoism. As a self-proclaimed Taoist (American, p. 546), Le Guin manufactures a world based on two of the main principles of Taoism: 1) the theory of inactivity in which one acts only when absolutely necessary, and 2) the relativity of opposites which is the belief that opposites are interdependent, and their interdependence results in the equilibrium (Spivack, pp. 6 & 7). Both of these principles will be explained further in regard to the individual works” (Griffin, Jan M. Ursula Le Guin’s Magical World of Earthsea, The Alan Review).

  • Interested in learning about Taoism? Here is a great place to find out more.
  • Another great link to information on Taoism, found on Mr. Pogreba’s Ancient Philosophy page for Debate class.
  • Visit Ursula K. LeGuin’s website to find all kinds of great information, including UKL reading an excerpt from A Wizard of Earthsea.

“A Wizard of Earthsea is the story of the making of a mage, the education and testing of a young man born with the power to work wonders but lacking the knowledge to bring this power to fruition and to control its destructive potential” (Scholes 37). Themes of equilibrium, coming-of-age, journey, and the omnipresent Shadow infuse the world of Earthsea with magic and possibility. As you read, notice the Taoist notion of Balance in the names, places, phrasing, and ideas.”Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life. . .”

“To light a candle is to cast a shadow. . .”

  • For a basic image of a mandala – the Sanskrit religious symbol, Native American symbol, and psychological image of Balance – try this link. “The Circle is the basic component of every mandala. The circle symbolizes perfection – a beginninglessness – endless – seamless – balance.” Joe
  • *Create your own mandala image relating to the journey of self-discovery in A Wizard of Earthsea. Provide interpretive information in a format of your choosing.
  • To view the classic yin/yang symbol, the melding of black and white, the totality of everything, click here.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.” – René Descartes, Discours de la Méthode, 1637

You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything.
So I thought once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s
knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower; until at
last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholely what he must do…

Ursula K. Le Guin “A Wizard of Earthsea”

“…fantasy is the natural, the appropriate language for the recounting of the spiritual journey and the struggle of good and evil in the soul.” (Le Guin, “The Child and the Shadow” The Language of the Night)

Everything that matters in our intellectual and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself. …The one thing worse for democracy than hero worship is self-worship. [From “The Decline of Heroes” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr,]

Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. . . There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. [From “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus]