Study Guide

The Lathe of Heaven Plot Analysis

By Ursula K. LeGuin

Plot Analysis

(Exposition) Initial Situation: Dream, dream, dream

George Orr is your average guy… except for one thing: his dreams change reality. He's caught overdosing on pills to stay awake and is sent to Dr. Haber for therapy and, you know, more drugs. So far, so good.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication): Controlling the Uncontrollable?

George realizes that Dr. Haber is using his dreams to change reality. Yeah, so far, so not good. George wants to stop him, but he doesn't know how, so instead, things get worse by the moment. Lawyer Heather Lelache tries to help, but there's not much that she can do either.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point): A Nightmare!

The worst has happened: Dr. Haber has finally learned how to dream effective dreams. The moment he goes for it, the world literally falls apart, and we think everyone is going to die. This is the most fast-paced, scary, and emotional part of the whole story.

Falling Action: Return to Normal-ish

George stops Dr. Haber's world-annihilating dream, but everything isn't perfect: the world still has to deal with the aftermath of Haber's destruction. Slowly, everything starts to recover and calm down.

Conclusion: Better Late Than Never

The novel ends with George finally in a job that is suited to him, freed of his terrible power, and free of Dr. Haber. But that's not all: Heather Lelache walks right back into the picture. (Yup, she exists again.) Hey, even though the world ended, there's still time for romance, are we right?