Perfection in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven Essay

Perfection in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven Essay

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Perfection in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven


Is there such a place where ideal perfection exists? Can our views on social, political, and moral issues ever concur with one another? The answer to these questions is simple - no. The world we live in today is full of social, political, and moral imperfections that hinder our ability to live a life free of evil. In Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven, this imperfect lifestyle is the foundation on which the desire for a utopian society sits. The American Heritage Dictionary defines reality as the totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence . For George Orr, the protagonist in the novel, his dreams actually become reality. Through his gift of effective dreaming, Orr can alter elements in the "real world" and is terrified because of it. In Orr's view, "This gift has been given to a fool, a passive nothing of a man" (LeGuin 121).

With this gift comes the ability to change what is real, create things that never existed, and in turn, eliminate things that did. In other words, George Orr was given a gift to play God and does not want the responsibility. In order to save himself and the rest of society, Orr confides in Dr. Haber, his psychiatrist as well as the antagonist in the novel. Taking advantage of his gift, Dr. Haber forces Orr to dream in search of the elusive Utopia. For Dr. Haber, "there was no end to his determination to improve the world (LeGuin 128). His sole mission is to gain power and do all he can to create the perfect world. In attempts to create a place of ideal perfection, a world of pain, oppression, and terror eventually ensues. This search for eventual perfection brings forth the realization that such a Utopian society is not only i...


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...nce our perceptions on reality and the concept of a utopian society. The connection between our own society and elements of the novel enable readers to recognize that although a literal utopian society is not possible, the closest we can come to perfection is to find a balance between what is and what we can imagine.

Works Cited
The American Heritage Dictionary: 2nd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, MA, 1985. Copland, Neil.

"Main Concepts of Taoism: Yin and Yang." Taoism and the Taoist Arts. April 2002. http://www.taoistarts.net/main.html#yin LeGuin, Ursula K. The Lathe of Heaven. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers Inc., 2000.

Robinson, B.A. "History of Taoism." Taoism. March 21, 2002. http://religioustolerance.org/taoism.html Velasquez, Manuel. Philosophy: A Text With Readings. 8th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2002.

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