Download the Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin Kindle eBook - A Treatise on Time Itself
Download Download the Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin Kindle eBook - A Treatise on Time Itself...
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
Leguin's Greatest Work
Centuries ago, the moon Anarres was settled by utopian anarchists who left the Earthlike planet Urras in search of a better world, a new beginning. Now a brilliant physicist, Shevek, determines to reunite the two civilizations that have been separated by hatred since long before he was born. The Dispossessed is a penetrating examination of society and humanity -and one mans brave undertaking to question the unquestionable and ignite the fires of change.
The Dispossessed is a story with multiple levels. On one level, it's the story of a man- Shevek- on a quest. On another, it's a utopian/dystopian novel. On yet another, it's about the nature of time. Shevek lives on Anarres, a large moon of the planet Urras. Anarres is a harsh world with sparse resources. There is no luxury and there are sometimes privations, but the people live in an anarchic socialist state. There is no property; everyone shares everything- if one goes hungry, all go hungry. If there is excess food, all eat well. In theory, everyone is free to do what they want, but this is a very organized anarchy. The Division of Labor's computers show all jobs available and you pick what you want, or, in times of crisis, are asked to take specific jobs. Syndicates decide how to deal with specific issues. This is where Shevek runs into trouble. He is a physicist working on a unified theory of time. His theory is at odds with the theory the head of the university syndicate has worked on. When the syndicate refuses to publish his theory, he finds that even a society based on equality, freedom, sharing and not having anyone superior to any other has it's rules, rulers and ways of making people conform. When Shevek does get his theory published, he gets it sent to Urras. He is awarded a prize for the innovation and importance of his work, and this is
where the story starts: as he leaves for Urras. While there has been some small trade between the worlds, the people do not mingle. Ever. The story weaves two time streams together: Shevek's life from his childhood, leading to the point where the story starts, and Shevek's life as he goes to Urras. Some have found this technique hard to follow, but it emphasizes Shevek's theory of time being simultaneous rather than sequential. Urras (where the Anerres people migrated from less than 200 year s before) is the opposite of Anerres: society is materialistic, capitalistic, class and gender stratified. Many people go hungry while a few have food to waste. But it's a luxurious world; there is great wealth, both in the upper class people's lives and in natural beauty. Here there are trees, flowers, grass, abundant rain. Shevek enters this world as a noble savage- will he hold to his ethics, or be seduced by the soft Urras life they offer him? In the end, it's obvious that neither society is perfect and that things still need to be worked out. Written in 1974, this book explores a lot of the issues that were important then. The situation of Urran women as property, kept from education and jobs, vs the gender equality on Anarres steps right out of the s econd feminist movement. There is some space given to anti-war sentiment; the Viet Nam war would have been winding down while this book was being written. The biggest theme, of course, is communism vs capitalism, which was a big issue in the 70s. What saves this book from being a ponderous treatise on sociology and politics is the characters. Le Guin's people are complex, rounded, interesting people. We have no caricatures here, we have living, breathing humanoids dealing with the effects of the society they live in. Despite the 36 years since this book was written, it remains both meaningful and engaging.
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