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A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea


by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea Theme of Education

This might annoy you, but it needs to be said: Ged's education doesn't end when he gets out of school. Sorry, we're starting to sound like an after-school special. But education is a central issue in A Wizard of Earthsea. Ged gets one type of education from the wizard Ogion and another from the wizard school (Roke), and then Ged gets another sort of education from hunting down his shadow. We might say that one of the most important elements of Ged's education is that it teaches him his place in the universe, and the consequences of his choices. That's definitely some out-of-the-classroom learning.

Questions About Education

  1. Do you think Ged learns more at school or outside of it?
  2. How does Le Guin describe Ged's school years? Does she take a long time to describe a long time, or does she sometimes describe long amounts of time in a single sentence?
  3. How well do you think Le Guin describes this school? (For instance, do you think you could draw a picture of the Roke school?) How does her description of the school affect your reading?
  4. How does the Roke school compare to other magical schools you've read about?  We're thinking of Hogwarts (Harry Potter), Camp Half-Blood (Percy Jackson), the University in The Name of the Wind, Battle School (Ender's Game) … We're sure you can think of others too.
  5. There's no mandatory schooling on Earthsea, and most of these people seem to be illiterate (which was the case for a lot of people throughout history, by the way). How does this situation affect Ged's schooling? Does it change your feeling about this book?
  6. How does education relate to the other themes and issues of the book? For instance, education may be related to language, since what Ged is learning is true names; but are there other connections. Does education relate to pride, for instance?

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