“Beware her, the day she finds her strength!”: Tehanu and the power of the marginalized to affect social change in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea saga

— Jon Alkorta Martiartu

26 April 2021 | Mythlore, Volume 39, № 2: Ursula K. Le Guin, 5

The present paper aims to study the central role that Ursula K. Le Guin gave to the character of Tehanu in her Earthsea novels of Tehanu and The Other Wind, with the intention of showing how even the most marginalized and liminal individuals of society should be given a chance to prove their worth. For this purpose, we will study the reasons that make Tehanu such a character, focusing especially on her inscription as a female individual, her namelessness, and disability. At the same time, making use of the proposals offered by liminality and disability studies, we will suggest that it is by means of a thorough reflection on her physical condition that this character will end up acquiring a powerful position from which she will be able to affect change in a global scale.

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