Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Karen Schneider, Elizabeth Oakes, Pat Carr

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Ursula K. Le Guin uses dark and light imagery to emphasize her theme of dynamic equilibrium. This theme can be found throughout her work; the novels discussed are The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, The Dispossessed, and The Beginning Place. In each novel, Le Guin focuses on a different aspect of dynamic equilibrium. The themes are respectively, gender identity, chaos and order, and the individual versus the community. The final novel, The Beginning Place, unites and sums up all three themes. In each novel, one or more main characters suffers from imbalance that reflects the theme of the novel. Throughout the course of the novel, the character learns to find balance, thus resolving the issues that Le Guin discusses.


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America