What can stories teach us? Here are three quotes by Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018).
“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel — or have done and thought and felt; or might do and think and feel — is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.… And a person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know quite fully what it is to be human. For the story — from Rumpelstiltskin ” to War and Peace — is one of the basic tools invented by the mind of man for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” (1970)
“Distancing, the pulling back from ‘reality’ in order to see it better, is perhaps the essential gesture of SF. It is by distancing that SF achieves aesthetic joy, tragic tension, and moral cogency.” (1973)
“Those who refuse to listen to dragons are probably doomed to spend their lives acting out the nightmares of politicians. We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.” (1976)
One thought on “Three quotes about the purpose of fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin”
Really gorgeous quotes. Thank you for sharing these! She had such a beautiful sense of language, and of the human experience…