A Journey to Adulthood
Topics: Binary opposition / Pages: 9 (2191 words) / Published: Mar 29th, 2005

Journey To Adulthood In A Wizard of Earthsea an archetypal pattern of death and rebirth highlights Ged 's journey from adolescence to adulthood. In "Myth and Archetypal Criticism" we read, "Images of death and rebirth […] usually suggest some kind of emotional, moral, or spiritual rebirth"(Young 70). We see one or more of these aspects in each of Ged 's rebirths, especially in his last rebirth in this book. Ged 's coming of age process in this novel is also illuminated by the use of binary oppositions, one of which can even be seen in the book 's title; earth/sea. The relationship between these oppositions helps us to better understand Ged 's journey into adulthood as being also a journey into the self. Ged 's first major rebirth along with significant binary opposites can be seen in his Ceremony of Passage. In this ceremony his aunt, the witch, first takes from him his boy name, Duny. Then without name or clothes he walks into some cold springs near his village. As he enters the water the story mentions that "water clouds crossed the sun 's face and great shadows slid and mingled over the water" (Le Guin 15). When he comes to the other bank Ogion clasps his arm and whispers his true name, Ged, to him. Thus Ged begins his journey into adulthood by gaining his true, or adult, name. (Le Guin 14-15) If we look at this ceremony through an archetypal lens we can see the pattern of death and rebirth mentioned earlier. His symbolic death in this ceremony can be seen in the taking of his boy name. Ged 's symbolic rebirth can be seen in that he emerges from the river naked and nameless just as an infant is naked and nameless when born. His rebirth in this ceremony is complete when he gains the knowledge of his true name. Thus, a true name being the key to a thing 's true nature or essence, Ged 's knowledge of his true name helps him begin to learn about his inner self. The images of binary opposition in this first step of Ged 's journey are few and

Cited: Craig, Amanda. "Review: A Wizard Of Earthsea." The Guardian Review. 18 Dec. 2003 . Cummins, Elizabeth. Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin. Columbia: S. C. University Of South Carolina, 1993. Le Guin, Ursula K. A Wizard Of Earthsea. 1968. New York: Bantam Books, 1975. Young, Bruce W. "Mythic and Archetypal Criticism." The Critical Experience. Ed. David Cowles. Dubque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1994. 60-85.

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