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English 4U Analysis "Mazes" by Ursula K. Le Guin
Transcript of English 4U Analysis "Mazes" by Ursula K. Le Guin
We are departed toward the planet Earth.
There, the unique life form, the human race, resides. Our mission is to discover and learn about this specimen. During my research before this flight, I came across an artifact our ancestors discovered long ago. It is believed to be of human origin, a collection of short stories. This appears to be how humans communicate, and therefore it is essential to analyze them carefully. To advance your knowledge of this race, you have received a copy of this book. I will give you a brief tutorial on what important ideas can be drawn from such short text. In this tutorial we will go through the story which related closely to our endeavor. It is called "Mazes" by Ursula K. Le Guin. For example: Events: A human is abducted and held captive by what he believes are aliens. He is forced into mazes which he must solve. Disoriented by exhaustion and hunger, he does not know what these aliens need of him. The aliens do not communicate with him and he struggles to survive their cruel treatment. Setting: An foreign alien planet other than Earth. Atmosphere/Mood/Tone: Disoriented and confused, as well as Analytic and Scientific Specific evidence in text: Alien
meaningless to me
perceptions of time are confused
lax immobility Example Tone: Is pessimistic, the protagonist/narrator is losing hope throughout the story, even more so after reflecting of these events in telling the story. Proof within the text:
"not be able to withstand the torture"
"no longer keep my emotions under aesthetic control"
"physical breakdown" "paralysis" "starved" "too weak"
"And now I have to die." Theme: Issues raised in this text are about survival. Without the necessities of life such as food and shelter survival is impossible. Since the cause to the lack of necessities is due to the nonexistent communication between the aliens and the human to express his need for proper food and oxygen, the author suggests that communication is essential, not only in written words, but in gestures and actions. In the text this is stated when the author writes; "but all its motions have been purposeful, not communicative. It is evidently a solitary creature, totally self-absorbed. This would go far to explain its cruelty." The ignorance of the alien is only detrimental, since its efforts to provide shelter and food are not enough to preserve coexisting life, Understanding your surroundings and peer species is essential. All of this can be found in some form of verbal or non verbal communication. Example: Comparison between familiar and unknown are often stated, and enhance the foreign environment throughout the story. Proof: "The mazes were, as I said, of basically familiar types, though the walls were of that foreign material much colder and smoother than packed clay." The similarities of the food and shelter provided to the human suggest a vain level of understanding from the aliens. Only what they perceive from beyond Earth, but do not know the qualities which sustain humans in food and shelter are observed. Observations are not always correct, that is why is is paramount to engage on an equal level with unknown or new in life. Arrogance and ignorance can impair the opportunity to learn by asking questions and gaining new perceptions as opinions are discussed. Proof: "Only they were not fresh.... Yet there they were, with all the scent and shape of greenbud, irresistible to my craving appetite." The parallels stated between the alien and the human suggest that the behaviour of the alien can be true of the human nature as well. Through specific words such as: "prison" "my captor" "little children" "receiving punishment" the image of the human being treated as if an animal in an experiment laboratory. Proof:
"We are both intelligent creatures, wew are both maze builders..."
"They are enough like our eyes that it must see somewhat as we do."
Exposition: protagonist is dying, struggling to survive. Rising Action: The maze is described and explained. The lack of communication between the human and alien is stated. Turning Point: First sign of emotion from the alien observed when frustrated with the intelligence of the human after the knob pushing experiment. Climax: When the human finally makes the ultimate effort to communicate by speaking to the alien after recognizing defeat and sadness on the aliens expression. Denouement: The human is about to die. There is no longer a solution that communication can solve. It is too late, communication could have prevented this at the beginning, but understanding between the two is no longer achievable. The human is in a state of exhaustion. SYMBOLS 2002 March (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Relationships amongst characters is another rudimentary in stories. 5+7= (cc) image by anemoneprojectors on Flickr In this story there are only two characters: Alien Human Seems to have attempted to provide and care for the human, by providing food and shelter. Does not indicate its intentions however. Its objective is unknown and it does not try to communicate whatsoever in a way the human understood. Was the way in which the aliens communicated that much astray from the method of humans that caused the disconnect of not understanding one another, or merely were the aliens ignorant with power and control? The human seems to be a scientist who observes very closely and often does so naturally since most of his documentation throughout the story of events uses elaborate vocabulary that most scientists would use when creating a hypothesis. This high level of knowledge is consistent even though he is weak and disoriented. Even when struggling to survive he maintains the willingness to analyze his surroundings to try and understand and discover answers. Symbols Often characters or objects in a story are associated with certain emotions or memories or themes and ideas. The maze is a crucial symbol, though there are others previously mentioned (see slide 2). The maze represents the overall message of the story. That without communication, all is lost and you become trapped in isolation without the opportunity to learn from or get aid from others. In a maze there are many possibilities, parallel to perceptions of observers. Only one exit but many different paths, however by yourself it is highly unlikely to know the solution to the maze. Mazes are an excellent representation of the prison or entanglement that occurs in isolating one's self.