Got Hazia?

Justin Fike '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2003

Ursula K. LeGuin in The Farthest Shore, presents a world in which the skewed powers that govern the world differ from what we experience today. Mages likened to Gods make the normal everyday people of the world, affected by the circumstances, seem insignificant:

The people for all their restless activity, seemed purposeless. [66]

The procession and termination of the story alters that view however by presenting the reader with an unlikely hero. Sparrowhawk and Arren travel to Hort town where no magical or mystical force affects the land. While there they meet a man who goes by the name of Hare.

Having taken a type of drug called Hazia, Hare reaches a place he wishes Sparrowhawk would go. While convincing Sparrowhawk to follow his directions, Hare speaks of "two kinds of men"(69). His statements denote that "people without power are only half alive. They don't count. They don't know what they dream; they're afraid of the dark"(69).

Questions

1. Does the view of ordinary people as insignificant remain a theme through the entire book? Does Hare's status in the story have significance when deciding whether to believe this passage? Why would LeGuin chose Hare to send this message of superiority to the reader?

2. How does the end of the book parallel The Lord of the Rings? Can the books be seen having a parallel structure? Characterization? Does LeGuin use an unlikely hero given that Sparrowhawk is "no mage now" (254) and Arren passes "between the two peaks, for which he had been struggling. This was the pass and the end. There was no way farther" (245). If so, who represents this unlikely hero?

References

Le Guin, Ursula K. The Farthest Shore. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.


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Last modified 14 March 2004