Friday Feminist – Ursula Le Guin (2)

My cousin Grace included Ursula Le Guin’s Tehanu in her list of 15 books (my list is here) which prompted me to reread it. I love the way that Le Guin uses the small moments of life to illuminate large problems.

Then he too got up, and brought his dish to the sink, and finished clearing the table. He washed the dishes while Tenar put the food away. And that interested her. She had been comparing him to Flint; but Flint had never washed a dish in his life. Women’s work. But Ged and Ogion had lived here, bachelors, without women; everywhere Ged had lived, it was without women; so he did the ‘women’s work’ and thought nothing about it. It would be a pity, she thought, if he did think about it, if he started fearing that his dignity hung by a dishcloth.

Ursula Le Guin, Tehanu, 1990


4 responses to “Friday Feminist – Ursula Le Guin (2)

  1. Yes, absolutely, I love the way she does this. Tehanu had just come out when I first read the original earthsea trilogy as a kid, and I must say I completely didn’t get it until I read it again about 5 years ago.

    Reading that passage made me think of Maureen McHugh’s China Mountain Zhang, which has a similar way of providing perspective through looking at the way that people just live their lives to fit it (or not). Great, great book.

  2. Oh, I do love Le Guin. I’m reading her Voices at the moment.

  3. Thanks for this quote and link. Le Guin is one of my favourite authors as Deborah knows.