If you deny any affinity with another person or kind of person, if you declare it to be wholly different from yourself—as men have done to women, and class has done to class, and nation has done to nation—you may hate it, or deify it; but in either case you have denied its spiritual equality, and its human reality. You have made it into a thing, to which the only possible relationship is a power relationship. And thus you have fatally impoverished your own reality. You have, in fact, alienated yourself. (Le Guin 1975: 209)
The concept of otherness is one highly complex and interwoven with deeper issues of psychology and sociology. In literature, one of its theorizers has been Ursula K. Le Guin, who, in her novels, makes heavy use of the notion, in order to mirror and reveal some of the issues of her society. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of what alterity is and how it applies to Le Guin’s novels, her society, and ours today. I have strived to highlight the importance of the way we define the Other (and ourselves, at the same time) and the manner in which these definitions can underline social issues. As always, the historical context is of great importance to better understanding the framework within which these novels were written, as Le Guin has danced to the song of her days, dealing with issues such as feminism and racism when these were just emerging.
The main reason for which I have chosen this particular topic of study is neatly contained