Ursula Le Guin’s Writing Styles

Based on Chapter 1 of A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, we can conclude that her writing style is very unique. She focuses a lot on literary tools, such as foreshadowing, personification, and parallelism, such as when she wrote “Then his aunt was a little afraid of his strength, for this was as strong a spell as she knew how to weave […]” (5). This is foreshadowing on how Duny grows up to become a very powerful sorcerer. Ursula also uses a lot of long, compound-complex sentences in her writing, which can create some beautiful, imagery filled expanded moments. She is very good at knowing when longer sentences will be especially beneficial, like in the scene where Duny gets his true name. Ursula wrote “as he entered the water, clouds crossed the sun’s face and great shadows slid and mingled over the water of the pool about him.” (16) Lastly, Ursula has a way of advancing the storyline while still allowing it to flow smoothly. There are few parts in the first chapter that feel forced or choppy, even though Duny receives three different names, a war occurs, five years pass, and the story advances drastically. The writing is not insanely difficult to follow, and there is clearly a methodically organized structure to the writing itself. The paragraphs never go too far off topic, and none of them distract you from the plot. Each word was written for a reason, and adds to the overall understanding of the chapter. To sum it all up, Ursula’s writing is unique in the fact that she uses many long sentences but still manages to convey the sense of intensity and intrigue that any good book should. I am looking forward to reading more!

T10: A Wizard of Earthsea Style Analysis

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


In the novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, the author Ursula Le Guin, manages to achieve a new and abstract way of writing for her time. Le Guin uses different literacy techniques to concisely leave readers with suspense. Of these techniques, the use of imagery, expanded moments, and foreshadowing stood out the most. However, the most interesting aspect of her writing is how she is able to illustrate so many ideas and concepts of the characters in such a laconic manner. The first two chapters are all focused on the inciting incident and background knowledge of what is happening on Gont Island and even the first page of the novel, Le Guin names Duny as the “the greatest voyager” (pg. 1), thus leading readers to flip the pages with excitement. If this literacy technique continues on throughout the book, Le Guin will have mastered writing an entire story within 252 pages.

Ursula Leguin

Ursula LeGuin’s writing style isn’t like any literature I have read before. If I were to describe her in a few words, I would call her a painter of literature. Instead of telling, she makes sure to show me that what is happening. In action scenes, she uses descriptive adjectives instead of direct information. Instead of blunt sentences about the scene, she allows room for creativity of the reader so that although the same thing is happening, the picture painted in each reader’s mind is slightly different. Her writing style develops character much faster and much more effectively than other writing styles as her usage of metaphors replaces many adjectives and descriptive passages in just one line of the book. She is scientific notation of words, compressed yet a beautiful work of art that is pleasant to read. Overall, her writing style is heavily focused on imagery; she does a great job of doing it.

Ursula Le Guin Writing Style

Her intentional use of literary tools and manipulation of the reader and their interest is impressive. She knows how to reel in the reader, pique their interest with an interesting story and then keeps them entertained through out the read, I found that she was good at providing imagery when necessary. Ursula Le Guin knows when to world-build, knows when to keep details out. I would describe her overall style as intentional, deliberate, and descriptive. Le Guin’s use of literary tools helped the overall establishment of the characters, conflicts and setting. This is because her use of tools like imagery expand the novel and fill in the details for the reader. The foreshadowing pull in the reader and entice them to read the story. When she writes “Of these some say the greatest, and surely the greatest voyager, was a man called Sparrowhawk” She then goes on to describe Sparrowhawk’s childhood, and almost dares us to fill in the details. Her use of expanded moments also creates interest by slowing down the pace and focusing on a few key moments in Ged’s life. Overall, her style is interesting and engaging, and her use of literary tools helps her tell the story and get the point across.

A Wizard of Earthsea

In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin uses foreshadowing to create a sense of anticipation and develop an in-depth concept of what Duny will become throughout his journey. In the first paragraph of the book, Le Guin informs the reader that the story will be about “the man called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage” (p.1). This information adds context to the story to make unbelievable or fantastic ideas more realistic. Furthermore, after Duny’s aunt “becomes a little afraid of his strength” after he laughs through her silence curse, “for this was as strong a spell as she knew how to weave” it foreshadows that Duny will needs to leave his villiage in order to reach his full potential. This creates excitement and incites the reader to continue reading. In conclusion, Ursula Le Guin uses forshadowing to keep her readers engaged and ensure that the readers will understand and believe the plot despite the magic and fantasy aspects.

Wizard of Earthsea Style Analysis

How does Le Guin’s use of literary tools help or hinder the establishment of characters, conflicts, or setting in Chapter 1 of the novel?


Through chapter 1, Ursula Le Guin’s use of literary tools gives a lot of detail to the story. The usage of literary tools sometimes hinder the reader and distract them from the plot. I often found myself lost in the description of the scenes rather than the story. In the beginning, Le Guin introduces Duny’s hometown, “he was born in a lonely village called Ten Alders, high on the mountains at the head of the Northward Vale. Below the village pastures and plowlands of the Vale slope downward level below level towards the sea, and other towns lie on the bends of the River Ar; above the village only forest rises ridge behind to the stone and snow of the heights” (1). The new world she introduces is creative and completely different but it also gives rise to confusion. With all the new vocabulary, readers may get overwhelmed. The use of metaphors and similes also give an impactful depiction such as when she describes Duny, “he grew wild, a thriving weed, a tall, quick boy, loud and proud and full of temper” (2). By describing Duny as a “thriving weed”, the readers can portray him as a resilient and willful character. Le Guin’s use of foreshadowing also sparks interest in readers. In the first chapter, we can see Duny is gifted but arrogant with his abilities. From the foreshadowing, we know Duny’s future but we don’t know his journey so we stick around to find out how he became the great wizard that Le Guin tells us he becomes. Overall, chapter 1 was very fast paced and Le Guin’s use of literary tools sometimes distracts the reader but also gives great amounts of detail to the Wizard of Earthsea. I look forward to reading the rest of the book!




Style Analysis

In Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, she employs the use of foreshadowing and imagery to expertly convey the novel’s plot while establishing a mythical, fantasy-esque tone. Le Guin sets the tone of the book by beginning the story with a preamble on the nascent Sparrowhawk, a powerful wizard, who “in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage”(1). By directly delving into the main character’s destiny, Le Guin prompts readers to inquire about the storyline of the character’s rise to fulfill that destiny. Le Guin uses her gift of purposeful ambiguity to push readers to read further. Le Guin wastes no time in providing supplementary details that nullify the fantastical plot or slow down the pace of the novel by elaborating on meticulous detail. In accordance with ambiguity, Le Guin also utilizes imagery. Le Guin provides visual and sensory details to immerse her audiences in the scene without fixating on logistical or irrelevant statements. She describes the sensory aspects of Duny’s fog to emphasize the effects of Duny’s magic, focusing on the Kargs’ confusion while they “[followed] dim wavering shapes that fled just out of reach before them” and waited for the fog to abate (13). Sensory details allow us to fully comprehend and acknowledge the sheer power and scale of Duny’s magic, further piquing our interest in his prophecy. Ursula Le Guin’s unique writing style in A Wizard of Earthsea pinpoints and manipulates the degree of detail in each scene to set a delicately crafted pace that brings momentum and mystery to the story.

WOE writing styles

In Chapter one of A Wizard of Earthsea, we are immediately thrown into an entirely new universe in which Le Guin quickly introduces the idea of magic and continues to beautifully set the stage for this new pantheon of characters. Out of these we have Duny, our protagonist. Le Guin first describes Duny as “a thriving weed, a tall, quick boy, loud and proud and full of temper”(2). Which without establishing much visual description, or stories of his life, allows us to already feel connected to him. This metaphor compares Duny to a weed rather than any other plant, which is significant because weeds generally carry a negative connotation alongside them. If Le Guin used a tree in her metaphor, we would most likely receive a completely different perception of  Duny’s attitude and general personality. As for the setting, Le Guin has the difficult task of creating a new world. To do this, she uses some of the most beautiful and effective imagery that I’ve ever read. Such as the first scene describing Gont where she sets the stage by helping the reader to visualize Ten Alders which is shown in the following passage.

“High on the mountain at the head of the Northward Vale. Below the village the pastures and plowlands of the Vale slope downward level below level towards the sea, and other towns lie on the bends of the River Ar; above the village only forest rises ridge behind ridge to the stone and snow of the heights.”(1)

Once you get into the story, you start to be able to conceptualize Earthsea, and draw parallels between this fantastical archipelago and our own Earth. My one criticism of Le Guin’s style would be that it occasionally gets in the way of the flow of the story. Though grammatically correct, using an extreme amount of comma disrupts the way the story is read. For example, in the passage:  “She threw clear water on the fire till the smoke cleared away, and gave the boy water to drink, and when the air was clear and he could speak again she taught him the true name of the falcon, to which the falcon must come”(5) The word and is used three times and the clauses seem unnecessarily choppy. Might just be personal preference, but when I read a story where the writing sounds like messy poetry, it makes it difficult to full comprehend everything that is happening.

Overall, I believe that Le Guin’s writing style, being as different as it is, further affirms to the reader that this story is not of our world. When an author has a decisively abnormal style of writing it is often on purpose, and not just because of personal choice.


wizard of earthSea: the styLe of writing

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

In Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, I notice how concisely she jumps from scene to scene, leaving only the essential portions of the story to be heard. She describes Duny’s life by only describing certain events in detail and filling the void in the timeline with a few sentences of description. For example, when the entire learning of magic scene from Duny’s aunt was summarized with “she taught him honest craft;” the book went into no detail about how the process happened or any character development between the two characters, but merely that the event had occurred (7). Another instance of this happening is when we see that “the witch was one who fled, hiding alone in a cave,” we have only the essential bit of information that we need, which is the location of the witch. Ursula Le Guin wastes no sentences to describe the events of the internal conflict of the witch or any hesitations she had, but only focuses on crucial parts of the story which progress the plot (10). One of the most obvious uses of this technique is right at the start of the story where Le Guin foreshadows the plot by saying “His life is told of in the Deed of Ged and in many songs, but this is a tale of the time before his fame before the songs were made,” which provides us with something to look forward to even though it is vague and short. Consequentially, I notice Le Guin enjoys telling a story by giving in-depth segments and short lines to fill in the blanks, which adds a sort of mystical feel to the readings.

A Wizard of Earthsea: Style Analysis

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

In chapter one of Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, I notice that her writing style is quite “artsy”. She uses many literary devices, such as assonance, repetition, metaphors, and foreshadowing. The thing that stands out most to me is the use of descriptive language. Most places or events are described in such a detailed way. The extensive use of descriptive words makes the story come to life, and a specific image is painted in my head. However, as detailed as some parts are, Le Guin also leaves parts very vague. It seems as if she keeps the important information unclear and mysterious, yet gives all the details about something seemingly insignificant, like Duny’s aunt’s house for example. It was “low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung drying from the crosspole of the roof…” (3). Personally, I rarely read fantasy novels, so I am not familiar with how they are written, nor do I have any comparisons. This may also be a reason why I find Le Guin’s writing style particularly artsy.