The Child And The Shadow Analysis

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In “The Child and the Shadow,” written by Ursula K. Le Guin, the author examines the relationship between a person and his/her shadow and the boundary between the collective conscious and collective unconscious mind. At the beginning of her essay, Le Guin recounts a fairy tale that she remembers from childhood. The fairy tale follows a man, who is too apprehensive to act upon his fascination of meeting the beautiful woman in the house across the street, while his shadow is much more confident in its ability to converse with the woman. He allows his shadow to isolate from himself and go into the house of the woman completely alone. Years pass before the man and the shadow witness one another again, the reader is exposed to the fact that the…show more content…
According to Le Guin, people who distrust the works of fantasy often view it as escapism; they want to teach children right from wrong using “realistic” books. Le Guin then argues, “I agree that children need to be taught right from wrong. But I believe that realistic fiction for children is one of the very hardest media in which to do it.” If real life problems: drugs, divorce, race prejudice, and unmarried pregnancy are presented in a way that the answer is in the back of the book, then they are doing children a serious disservice. Fantasy presents symbolic situation similar to these moral dilemmas in an abstract and creative way for the young mind. Le Guin argues this very eloquently and encourages all readers to take a second look at the true meaning of these children’s tales. Throughout her essay, Le Guin constantly encourages readers to think critically in the aforementioned style. She presents and explains in detail the components being conveyed. In “The Child and the Shadow,” Ursula Le Guin makes an admirably legitimate argument in that people are not their authentic selves because of their projections and that the fantasy genre is best way to represent hardships to children. She successfully offers counterarguments throughout the essay and refutes them with ease. Le Guin’s confidence, knowledge, and insightfulness offer a thought-provoking read to many
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