Study Guide

The Lathe of Heaven Chapter 7

By Ursula K. LeGuin

Chapter 7

  • Remember that date? Well, George has missed it, and Heather is not happy. No one makes her look stupid.
  • Heather heads to George's work. Not there. She goes to his house. Not there. Finally, she goes to his little cottage in the woods. There he is.
  • Naturally.
  • Turns out that George has been holed up in his cabin, trying not to sleep, since Saturday. It's Tuesday.
  • Something about seeing George like this, sleep deprived, frazzled, and half-insane, makes Heather realize that she has a bit of a crush on him.
  • Heather and George talk. It turns out that Heather had a husband who died in the war, and that's when she remembers that aliens didn't exist before last Friday.
  • Heather and George have an idea: instead of avoiding dreams, George should have a dream about Dr. Haber. He should make him a real good guy. That would fix everything, wouldn't it?
  • Somehow, we have a bad feeling about this.
  • But anyway, the two decide that this is the best course of action, since George is going to fall asleep eventually anyway.
  • Somewhere in this conversation, Heather launches into a long explanation of her past. She says that her dad was black and her mom was white, but she doesn't know what she is. George tells her she's brown, the color of the earth. Remember that—it's important later.
  • Oh, and George's childhood? Doesn't matter.
  • Heather and George realize that they aren't skinny anymore, since so many people died and there is abundant food. That makes Heather start to wonder if these dreams really are good.
  • Then George asks Heather if she remembers April 1998. She doesn't remember anything in particular, and that's when he drops the bomb: that's when the world ended.
  • Yep, you heard right. Kaput.
  • Turns out that humans were pretty bad at using birth control, stopping global warming, and dealing with world hunger. By the 90s, the earth was a living hell, and then in '98, the bombs dropped.
  • So everyone's dead, we guess?
  • After telling that story, George is so tired that he falls asleep—but not before Heather somehow hypnotizes him. She tells him to dream that Dr. Haber doesn't suck and that there are no aliens on the moon.
  • While George is sleeping, Heather cleans up the whole cabin and even starts reading a book by a Russian author.
  • So this is where things start to get pretty trippy. We don't know if it's the coffee or the brandy Heather's drinking, but stuff starts getting weird. The river starts singing eternal praise in the voices of unborn children, wolves start howling, and there's sunrise in the middle of the night.
  • When George wakes up, we figure out why everything is insane. The aliens have landed.
  • Oh, boy.