Undergraduate Research Paper
This paper draws on research about queer theory and history to analyze, through a literary utopian lens, Ursula K. Le Guin’s treatment of homosexuality in her novel The Dispossessed. The novel itself is said to be “an ambiguous utopia,” a description that holds up in an analysis of the other various parts of the novel. When it comes to sexuality, however, Le Guin’s discussion and writing on the topic is notably lacking. It is paid lip service through a brief showing of neutral attitude on the “anarchist” planet in the novel, but never given further analysis or a more complex viewing, despite ample opportunity to do so. Le Guin’s absence of critical thought on queer theory exemplifies her own fallibility in terms of avoiding too easy paths in her creation of a complex and “ambiguous utopia.” This is ultimately a reminder and warning that limitations of personal experience and perspective can influence anyone, and that we must all do our best to account for our blind spots.
University of Washington Tacoma
TLIT 311: Themes in American Literature
Adelante, Beck O.
"Incomplete Utopianism: Homosexuality in The Dispossessed,"
Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship: Vol. 1:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/access/vol1/iss1/5