Analysis Of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Child And The Shadow

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Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1975 essay, “The Child and the Shadow”, explores the concept of a human and their shadow and the realm of collective consciousness and collective unconsciousness. The essay begins by Le Guin summarizing a tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. This tale involves a young man and his overpowering shadow. It starts off by the man, whom is very shy, falling head over heels for a beautiful woman who lives across the street. However, he never meets this woman, his shadow does. The shadow separates itself from the man and “enters” the house, because he is only a shadow and cannot physically enter. The man simply goes on with his life. Once he is older, his shadow comes back, and they begin to travel. During their travels, the shadow fully overpowers the man, the man seemingly to become the shadow of his own…show more content…
The “thwarted selfishness, his unadmitted desires, the swear words he never spoke, the murders he didn’t commit.” as Le Guin states it. The man is the conscious reality and, in Le Guin’s words, “all that is civilized-learned, kindly, idealistic.” Our shadow is creative and destructive, but not solely evil. It is the “animal” side of our minds. Our Self, our conscious mind, is unity and harmony; the understanding of our psyche. Le Guin argues anyone who confronts these ideas is very creative and successful. She also states that we need to balance our conscious Self with our unconscious self, for our human bodies to be physically balanced. Her essay is concluded that if anyone disagrees with any of these philosophical thoughts, then they practice escapism. Denying what we humans are and the trials and tribulations we endure throughout life. We need to explore our minds. Discover ourselves. Ursula Le Guin’s interesting argument of “The Child and the Shadow” portrays the necessity of the shadow side of self and how we need our unconsciousness and consciousness to work together for us, as well as our society, to really

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