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A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Pride Theme

Pride in A Wizard of Earthsea mostly means that a character thinks he or she is really great when really that person's just OK. Of course, Ged is the big example of pride in action. He starts off the book thinking he's really great when he's just … well, actually, he is pretty great. But maybe he's not quite as great as he thinks he is, and he has a lot of learning to do. This is the problem with pride: it's not a problem to know you're good – it's only a problem when you think you're better than you really are. But this doesn't mean that we should go around thinking that we're worse than we actually are. In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged seems to be happiest when his pride matches his position in the world: as a powerful wizard, he's important, but he's not the center of the universe.

Questions About Pride

  1. Aside from Ged, do any of the other characters struggle with pride? Do Vetch, or Jasper, or Ogion? If the book shows us several different characters struggling with pride, does it demonstrate a best way to deal with it?
  2. How does Ged overcome his pride? That is, he's introduced as proud (1.3) and remains proud at school (4.1). When does he overcome his pride? Does it happen all at once, or does it happen in little ways over the course of the book?
  3. How does pride relate to the other themes of this book, like "Friendship." After all, if Ged is so proud, why is he friends with Vetch or anyone?
  4. Does pride ever help characters in this book? It seems like Ged, after the shadow monster in Chapter 4, has no pride – and that turns him into a shell of his former self, no good to anyone. Is there some middle ground that we should strive for – a halfway point between being too proud and not being proud enough?

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