GIFTS AND VOICES by Ursula Le Guin: individuation and polytheism

GIFTS, by Ursula Le Guin, is a novel about learning what your gifts really are and about using them in your own way, and not as society or your significant Other wishes. It’s about growing up as individuation, rather than adaptation to a pre-existing model. You may come to realize that your real apprenticeship to life does not correspond to your official education.

VOICES is about the power of books and of reading ,against the barbarians who think that books are accursed objects. Books are associated with a gentle and open polytheism, whereas the barbarians are intolerant violent despisers of other beliefs and life styles. Writing embodies a power other than that of physical force and its ideological order. Learning to read is not a passive process but involves the active discovery and use of one’s gifts and of the potencies of the world.


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