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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Womanspace : the underground and the labyrinth in Ursula K. Le Guin's narratives : original research

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Abstract

Ursula K. Le Guin's renowned cycle, spanning 20 years and five texts, is often acknowledged to be a textual space for the creative exploration and interrogation of gender. The two spaces in the title - 'earth' and 'sea' - are held in equilibrium, both by the author's craft and by magic. Unfortunately, though, few critics have explored how these spaces function in the narrative. In this article, we explore the representation of underground spaces and labyrinths as meaningful landscapes in the cycle. These spaces are found throughout Le Guin's fiction, but are foregrounded in four narratives: 'The finder' and 'The bones of the earth' (), and . Le Guin's writing consistently identifies the earth as feminine, in keeping with the archetype of 'Mother Earth', and we find that subterranean spaces and labyrinths are depicted as sites of power and empowerment for women. Nevertheless, we argue that Le Guin's affinity for gender equity and balance prevents these tropes from becoming another tired revisioning of an easy equation of earthy forces and 'the feminine'. Rather, for Le Guin, the underground and the labyrinth are sites of union between masculine and feminine elements and characters, through the empowerment of the feminine.


Ursula K. Le Guin se beroemde -reeks, wat strek oor 20 jaar en vyf tekste, is alombekend as 'n tekstuele ruimte vir die kreatiewe eksplorasie en kritiese ondersoek van gender. Die twee ruimtes in die titel - 'aarde' and 'see' - word in ekwilibrium gehou, beide deur die outeur se skeppingsvermoë en deur die bonatuurlike magie. Ongelukkig, het min kritici egter aandag gegee aan hoe hierdie ruimtes in die narratiewe funksioneer. In hierdie artikel ondersoek ons die voorstelling van ondergrondse ruimtes en labirinte as betekenisvolle landskappe in die -reeks Hierdie ruimtes word deurgaans in Le Guin se -fiksie aangetref, maar word in die volgende vier narratiewe vooropgestel: 'The finder' en 'The bones of the earth' (), en . Le Guin se skryfwerk identifiseer konsekwent die aarde as vroulik ooreenkomstig die argetipe van 'Moeder Aarde'. Voorts vind ons dat ondergrondse ruimtes en labirinte uitgebeeld word as posisies van mag en bemagtiging vir vroue. Nogtans, argumenteer ons dat Le Guin se affiniteit met gender-gelykheid en -balans verhoed dat hierdie trope maar net nog 'n uitgeputte hersiening is van 'n maklike gelykstelling van aardse kragte en 'die vroulike'. Vir Le Guin, is die ondergrondse netwerke eerder ruimtes vir die vereniging van die manlike en die vroulike elemente en karakters deur die bemagtiging van die vroulike.

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/content/literat/35/1/EJC158008
2014-01-01
2016-12-04
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