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A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea


by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea Allusions and Cultural References

When authors give shout outs to other great works, people, and events, it's usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Since this book takes place in another world, there aren't a lot – or you know, any – references to books or philosophers or historical events from our world. Wouldn't it be weird if there were? Like, if Le Guin described a dragon by comparing it to a B-52 bomber – that would be so weird.

Now, that doesn't mean there aren't certain connections that we could make between this fantasy world and our own. For instance, as noted in Chapter 2, the magic language is written in runes, and "runes" are the language of old Germanic/Scandinavian languages. Also, when Ged enters the school, the door is made of horn and the doorframe is made of ivory (3.11), which might be a reference to the "gates of horn and ivory" – except that the Classical gates of horn and ivory seem very different from this door and doorframe of horn and ivory.

So, it might be possible to make some connections, but you might want to then ask, what does this connection mean here? And are there any differences?

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