Formal essay of approximately 1500 words (or at least four pages) in which you develop your argument regarding the LeGuin novel. This can be a formal extension of your discussion post: you may indeed use the language of your post as a springboard into the new essay!
Here is the original discussion board question (below are other possible avenues for discussion):
*Discussion #1 (due Tuesday 6/4): Ursula LeGuins novel The Word for World is Forest might be read in a number of ways: a speculative critique of the war in Vietnam; a postcolonial novel indicting the removal of Native communities in the Americas and elsewhere; and/or a meditation on the categories of the human and nonhumanthe Creechie figure seemingly another form of human that hasnt evolved. Please read the novel from one of the interpretative lenses outlined above being sure to attend to the texts formal elements to make your case.
Assignment and possible alternative questions:
If you are thinking about development, please be sure to also consider how the plantation model practiced by the Yumens differs in concrete ways from what we might view as a more sustainable approach to development–the latter practiced by the Athshaens. Another question that I posed on several posts and that is worth repeating: are the “Creechies” indeed practicing a more sustainable form of development? That is, rather than read them as merely primitive, spiritual beings, can we understand their culture as in fact more advanced? In this way, does LeGuin participate in world-making through science fiction? If you choose to write about the novel as a means of “world-making,” it is expected that you will cite Streeby. But please be sure to prioritize LeGuin.
As many of you also pointed out in your posts, “New Tahiti” seems like a clear analogue for colonial settlements in the Americas. You are welcome to explore this theme in your formal essay. If you choose to do so, please trace it in the novel and be sure to offer concrete examples. You may also want to consider how the occupation of “New Tahiti” might serve as a metaphor for ongoing forms of colonial occupation elsewhere–the sort that we have seen and continue to see on the continents of Asia or Africa.
Lastly, many of you also wrote about the exploitation of human communities and the ways in which the category of human is often quite complicated: surely the Creechies are more humanmore civilized, etc.than the Yumens! As you write your essays, you may want to consider how the novel also asks us to consider the categories of “human,” nonhuman, and/or “civilization.”
You are free to explore any argument that you choose, but you are expected to support your argument with sufficient evidence from the text(s). This includes a minimum of two close readings of passages from the novel in which you attend to: language–formal literary devices including metaphor, symbolism, and/or imagery. A close reading is a formal analysis; it is not a summary.
Additionally, all effective arguments must have support; and arguments must be explicitly stated in the introduction as a formal thesis statement, which informs your reader of the “what” and the “how”: what will you be arguing, and how will you prove your point? Future essays will also ask for the “why”!
Effective essays will include a formal introduction that includes a thesis statement; a separate essay body that contains sufficient evidence; and a formal conclusion in which you summarize the argument of the essay.
Essays do not have to be five paragraphs. Indeed, a good essay includes as many paragraphs as it needs in order to effectively communicate its argument and to sufficiently support it.
Your essay must be formatted according to MLA guidelines for in-text citations, must be double-spaced, and must be saved as a Microsoft Word document.