What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall style?
Ursula Le Guin has a skillful and powerful way with words that makes the novel laconic and concise yet visually stunning. She doesn’t waste time on meaningless details or events and captures the scene, mood, and essence of the story in a smooth literature style that doesn’t distract the reader. Her style makes it clear that the conflict is directly focused on Ged’s journey and inner conflicts by adding detail on important scenes to draw attention to changes or big moments in Ged’s character arc. The style very unique in the way it flips between little detail and lots of detail in the novel to highlight key moments and add a stylistic flow pattern to the shifting of time. It uses expanded moments to capture the reader’s imagination but leaves out enough details so that not only every read is different, but the read and images varies from person to person. It feels like a novel written in/from the world of Earthsea, like the Shakespeare of a world without Shakespeare. It’s the quintessential fantasy novel, with the perfect amount of world description and building that still leaves enough for the reader to interpret. Overall, the writing is fantastic and displays Ursula Le Guin’s voice of fantasy and character through her novel, and uses detail and lack of detail in a skilled and refined way to draw attention without distraction.
Light and darkness are easy to identify in the world.
Saying that light and darkness as easy to identify in the world is like saying ‘it’s day and night’. Seems simple, right? The problem is, there is more than just day and night. There’s also dawn and dusk, periods of time between day and night that are a mix of both. The same goes for light and darkness. There is a grey-zone, an area between light and darkness. People aren’t intrinsically good or intrinsically bad. They can be a mix of both, and whether they are light or darkness is effected by factors such as situation, perspective, motive/their beliefs and values, and the beliefs and values of others and society as a whole.
Is light really light? Is darkness really darkness? It depends on the perspective; who’s telling to story impacts who’s the protagonist/hero and who’s the antagonist/villain. One person might have a certain view over what is considered light and what is considered darkness, while another person might have a completely different or direct opposite view. In addition, the hero might make bad/’darkness’ choices or decisions while the villain might make good/’light’ choice depending of situation or morals. Is the ‘traitor that betrayed their classmates to the villain only because their family was held for ransom’ part of the darkness? One could argue both sides: they are darkness because they betrayed their classmates to the villain vs. they are light because they did it for their family. Which side they are on doesn’t matter though. What matters is that it can be argued both ways: light and darkness are not easily identifiable.
What about people who don’t openly show their alinement? Those who lie, corrupt, manipulate, or hide the truth? In a novel it’s easy to identify whether they are light or darkness based on inferences and dramatic irony, but what about in real life? You can’t tell if someone is sincere or not, if they are telling a lie or sharing the truth, if they are light or darkness. It’s not easily spotted. Corruption in politics, for example, is not easy spotted by those who work with or support the person in power. Perspective comes back into play; if you follow a leader and you support them, are you going to think they are light or darkness? What if you are someone who doesn’t support the person in power? It all comes down to a few important factors: setting, situation, motive/wants/fears, beliefs and values (multiple sources), and perspective. And if these factors does not line up properly, the boundary lines between light and darkness begins to fade, and we’re left with a grey-zone. Dusk and Dawn. A blurry mix.
And if it’s a blur, it’s no longer just black and white. It’s no longer easily identifiable if it’s light or darkness.
Section 3: Lead Up
Principle 4: Do more than manage – lead! Needs Improvement
I need to improve in this principle because I don’t always step up from the management role into a leadership role. I find myself content with managing because I am not confident in my leadership skills. I end up following a leader, and managing their load through management instead of leading. I don’t like being a huge risk taker, so I follow boundaries instead of pushing past them. TALONs is all about stepping up and being the leader, like mentoring the grade 9’s or hosting leadership events. I don’t feel confident that I will be able to do as good of a job as the other grade 10’s so I step back and become a manager. I need to learn how do do more than manage, starting with taking more leadership responsibility in my leadership project group despite the challenges of communication and organizational issues with the Music Festival.
Principle 8: Become a Go-To Player Good in this area
I feel like I am good in this area because despite panicking under pressure when it only concerns me, I perform when my team/group needs me. I work hard to carry my load and carry my team/group when things aren’t going well; for example, in ringette when my team is losing, I always put 120% into getting the team back on track physically and mentally by playing hard and making strategic plays to compensate with challenges. In TALONs and in my previous experience of MACC, I learned an important lesson about leadership: there’s a time and place to be a leader and a follower; too many leaders/cooks in the kitchen lead to trouble. I always want to be there for others, and perform so that I am not the ‘weak link’ but the chain that holds everyone together. Wether that be a group project where they need someone they can trust and count on or a ringette game where we need someone on the ice my coach trusts to pull through when momentum is low and pressure is on, I do my best to be a go-to player.
Section 4: Lead Across
Principle 5: Expand your circle of acquaintances Needs Improvement
I am not the most social person or the best at socializing. I admit I have some social anxiety, and it’s sometimes difficult for me to open up to certain people or talk to those I’ve never met before. I feel awkward and uncomfortable, like I’m being judged constantly by not only strangers buy my peers and sometimes even my friends, and although it’s all just in my head, it stops me from trying to expand my circle of acquaintances. Once I properly get to know someone and feel comfortable around them, I start to open up and relax, but I do work better in one-on-one situations. TALONs, school, life- it all has to do with connecting to people and building relationships. I need to improve my socializing skills so I can feel comfortable around my class, the grade 9’s, other students, and people in general. The first step I can take is getting more social during leadership or group projects, and opening up to some of the grade 9’s. Next, I can start to open up more to those I’m comfortable with and letting them into my inner circle. Finally, I can try talking with people outside TALONs and sports to become friends with a wider range of people outside my expertise and routine.
Principle 6: Let the best idea win Good in this area
I love generating creative ideas, and regularly come up with multiple similar ones. Because of this, I can listen to multiple ideas shared in a group, and listen to as many as I can before making a decision. I know what it’s like to be the creative person that gets shut down, so I encourage everyone including other creative people to share their ideas in a safe environment so they don’t have to feel excluded or shut down. It doesn’t matter who comes up with the idea, as long as it’s good and thought-out. Aside from others, I get ideas from virtually anywhere. I’ve gotten ideas from dreams, walks, while eating breakfast, even in the shower! Inspiration comes from everywhere, and I want to let others share their ideas. In TALONs, you have a lot of voices clamouring to say their ideas. I try to make an environment where those who don’t often have a voice can still share their ideas. I’ve been there, and I’m still there, so I use my experience and talk with those people as a small group so there are more voices imputing the idea so it gets heard.
Section 5: Lead Down
Principle 4: Place people in their strength zones Good in this area
I have a strange ability to see the strengths of people and subconsciously categorizing them. To clarify, I observe people doing something in their strength zone and I take note of it without realizing or through impressions of how others are so amazing at that specific strength. Later, when a situation comes up where I need a specific person, say in ringette or I need help in school, I know what people can help. It’s possible this came from ringette, where I was noting the strengths of my teammates and of members of the opposition to efficiently come up with the best strategies or plays. In a sense, I would ‘modify’ my playing style to fit or combat the strengths of other players. The same goes for school, though without the competition. I see how students interact with each other, teachers, and their work, including what they are passionate about and what they struggle in. It helps that I grew up in a lot of small classes filled with people I know. My elementary school was very small so I had the same students in my class, I was in MACC during middle school, and now I’m in TALONs. This gives me a few years with people and lets me pick up the habits and strengths of people I might not interact with that much. I still have much to learn with the grade 9’s, but especially within my leadership project I’m already picking up the strength zones of my group, and I can start incorporating that into our how our group works.
Principle 6: Transfer the vision Needs improvement
I need to work on my communication skills. Without proper communication and socializing skills, I can’t transfer the vision because there would be no clarity or voice behind it. I have the skills of purpose, stories, and passion down, but I struggle with clarity (communication), connection to the past, present, and future (concise and clear synthesis of the big idea), goals (delegating tasks by myself and taking the responsible head leadership position), and identifying one clear challenge (I usually find multiple small challenges that have impacts on part of the vision but no challenge that impacts the vision as a whole). I am the creator of the Escape Room leadership project idea, and I admit some of the communication issues and organizational problems with the Music Festival might come from me not transferring the vision correctly. Within the next couple of meetings, I’m going to sit the group down, lead instead of managing, and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding vision. I will take responsibility for my actions, and do everything I can to help solve the problems within our group and project.