Analysis Of The Wife's Story By Ursula Le Guin

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The motif of duality has inspired countless stories. From “Jekyll and Hyde,” to Beauty and the Beast, tales of one side of man, gentle and sweet, is contrasted via the other, a terrifying beast. Ursula Le Guin’s short story “The Wife’s Story” is no different. Written from the perspective of a grieving wife, we see through her point of view the transformation from her kind-hearted husband to a horrific monster, but with a twist. The wife is not exactly what one might assume, written from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf rather than Red Riding Hood. Employing any other point-of-view, Le Guin would not have been able to accomplish the deceptive tale of the widow told here. First-person is incredibly personal, and every event is presented to…show more content…
In “The Wife’s Story,” most readers are led by ambiguous language to believe they are following the tale of a woman, but discover at the conclusion the “wife” is actually a wolf mourning the transformation of her beautiful, kind-hearted husband into a hateful human beast who attacks their family. The wife’s vague language provides readers no reason to think anything is going on aside from what is presented to them-- or rather what they think is presented to them. As readers see his change from the wife’s POV, the truth is revealed, “The hair begun to come away all over his body. It was like his hair fried away in the sunlight and was gone. He was white all over then, like a worm’s skin. And he turned his face. It was changing while I looked, it got flatter and flatter, the mouth flat and wide, and the teeth grinning flat and dull, and the nose just a knob of flesh with nostril holes, and the ears gone, and the eyes gone blue — blue, with white rims around the blue — staring at me out of that flat, soft, white face. He stood up then on two legs” (2). In most werewolf stories, the transformation is marking with the growth of hair all over the body, the lengthening of the face, and emerging dagger-like teeth and claws, sometimes even hunching over to four legs. Here, readers get virtually…show more content…
However, some may suggest a third-person objective view, delivering readers nothing to guess the conclusion on, or rather an omniscient or first-person multiple vision POV so readers got everything alternatively to nothing. Although an objective view would certainly save the mystery of the story, it would most likely form a harder to read narrative. The twist would not be spoiled from the thoughts of the characters, but readers would also lose the personal perspective of the wife, ultimately what sets up the shock of the ending. Another alternative point-of-view one might suggest is one of a third-person omniscient narrator, or still first-person but in multiple vision. Contrastingly, it conveys to readers more than the story already provides, changing it from a personal tale with a twist ending to a birds eye view of the husband’s life, not just what the wife sees. However, it would fashion an entirely different story and would subtract from the interest of the small field of view and resulting revelation. Despite these arguments having some meat to them, ultimately “The Wife’s Story” was written in first-person POV for a reason: To accomplish the twist ending which compels it to be so memorable. Thus, any other point-of-view would have brought about a less intriguing,
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