What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?


In chapter one of the Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, she utilizes literary devices like expanded moment, imagery and foreshadowing while giving readers the information they need and simultaneously avoiding what may distract from the moments in time she chooses to present. When we’re first introduced to Duny, Ursula describes him as “the greatest voyager […] called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage,” alluding to his promising future (1). This gives us high expectations for the main character and piques our interest as to how he gets from a simple bronze-smith’s son to one of the most powerful mages in the land. The sense of wonder and fantasy continues in Ursula’s description of Duny’s life. Following his awry spell with the goats, his aunt takes him in and explains the power within him. When his aunt “[sits] cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit, so that smoke spread[s] and fill[s] the darkness of the hut” and “she [begins] to sing[,] her voice [changing] sometimes to low or high as if another voice [sings] through her” Ursula lengthens the moment to show the significance of Duny’s first real spell. By describing the aunt’s singing, actions, and the smoke, she transports you into a crucial moment in Duny’s life. This juxtaposes “he went from word to word and from spell to spell with the witch till he was twelve years old”, as it’s a big jump in time as opposed to the lengthened one aforementioned, and in relation to when “the boy was seven years old, untaught and knowing nothing of the arts and powers […] in the world” yet they are only a few pages apart (7,2). Ursula manages to span five years in five pages and also delve into the scenes that make up the essence of Duny and who he grows to become. In conclusion, Ursula Le Guin’s use of literary devices expanded moment and foreshadowing as well as her ability to manipulate time in her novel stood out the most in chapter one of her novel the Wizard of Earthsea.