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Ursula K Le Guin’s novel, The Telling is a fascinating criticism of society.  The novel takes us on the journey of a woman named Sutty that observes other cultures.  Through her we learn of these people that are hiding and living outside of societal norms by telling their stories and teaching the way things used to be; not what The Corporation has implemented.  The Corporation moved into these societies and put in place and entirely new culture, making it illegal to even tell of the past.

The Corporation is a representation of “The Man.”  “They believe that their beliefs should prevail absolutely, that no other way of thinking should exist.” (Le Guin, 200)  Le Guin set them up to represent the force that has commercialized everything and is taking away the innate meanings of things.  One of the main themes connected to this idea is the value of religion.  From reading this novel I would guess that Le Guin is an atheist because she portrays The Corporation who prays and are believers in such a negative light and she portrays the people from Okzat-Ozkat in such a more positive light and they don’t pray or believe in god as a creator or even singular figure.  On Page 109 Sully comments on how she has come to realize that there is no connection between morality and religion and being that The Corporation creates the religion it’s a direct hit on the corruption of society.  The idea that the people in Okzat-Ozkat don’t pray, but instead wish, is really interesting to me.  She describes praying as begging someone else to fix something for you.  While some people do pray to help others, there are a lot of superficial things that go along with it (like asking to win the lottery etc.) instead of just wishing and hoping for something.  Praying is also something that people do as a ritual and therefore the almost become desensitized to what it really should be.

With the world moving as fast as it does, we seem to do this not only with religion but with almost every aspect of our lives.  There is a quote that sums up everything I took away from the book and what I believe was Le Guin’s main point.  “The difference, Sutty told her, was between somebody sitting thinking after a meal and somebody running furiously to catch the bus.” ( Le Guin 111) People have gotten so caught up in what’s coming next that they don’t appreciate what they have now.  We’re throwing out all our old way of doing things for technology and superficial things and leaving behind a certain quality of life.

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