A Wizard of Earthsea
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Duty Quotes in A Wizard of Earthsea
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Ged made the charm well and honestly, working on it all that night and the next day, omitting nothing, sure and patient, though all the while his mind was strained with fear […] (8.5)
Remember how in Chapter 5 Ged was so overwhelmed by his fear of the shadow that he didn't think he could do his duty for the town of Low Torning? Now, although he's still afraid of the shadow, he can concentrate well enough to do his duty by concentrating on casting this charm well.
Had Ged been free of what was laid on him he would gladly have stayed there a week or a month to sing them what he knew, that the great songs might be known on a new isle. But he was not free, and the next morning he set sail, going straight south over the wide seas of the Reach. (9.4)
This is certainly a radical contrast with Ged from the first chapter. If Ged in the first chapter wanted to do something, he did it, even if it meant getting beaten by his father. But by the end of the book, Ged can separate out his desires from his duties.
Growing weary of old men who nagged him, he said, "I am yours, by parentage and custom and by duty undertaken towards you. I am your wizard. But it is time you recalled that, though I am a servant, I am not your servant. When I am free to come back I will come back: till then farewell." (9.83)
Vetch has a job to do – he's the wizard for Iffish. But he's also a wizard for this friend, Ged, and for the world, and for the Balance itself. Duty isn't just about a job – it could be about responsibility towards the whole darn world.