Ursula K. Le Guin – Why are Americans Afraid of Dragons

Alliana Avancena
Staff Writer

PC: Keia Harris

In talking about fantasy and science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin talks about how escapism fits into our world so perfectly. Her version of escapism comes from reading and talking about topics that most people find odd or unbelievable. She believes that reading and writing imaginative worlds translates into people understanding the depth and potential of life. It is a distraction from reality, one that is properly beneficial in creating good citizens and learners for life. Le Guin poses the question, “Why are Americans afraid of dragons?” and states that within American culture, men seem to be most distant from a passion that overrides gender barriers. As Le Guin means to not be sexist in this statement, she has observations that men define women as the naturally artistic, when they themselves are more than capable of conceiving ideas new to the world.

She claims that men are free in the world, reflecting that in some areas, it is apparent that no discipline is taught in accordance with perception to literary meanings. Instead, the techniques of science are more conveniently met as the expectation, rather than the discipline of the combination of art and science. Just like that, imagination is suppressed.

If imagination turns into a deformed being, then it will become ego-centered and daydreamy, as well as wishful thinking. Men rationalize their losses craving entertainment and call it realistic, thus affecting the way women see entertainment as well. Vice versa, the effects are large in the grand scheme of things. As Le Guin puts it best, “Fake realism is the escapist literature of our time.”

Literary structure can be applied to real life and the lessons learned are what form a sense of morale in children. Stating that mature people do not need this type of art in this era is simply delegating that culture of folktales and storytelling is fading. “Maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up,” as Le Guin puts it best.

Adults are afraid of fantasy, they say it is phony, unnecessary and trivial in the life they force upon themselves. There is a need to say that trust should be put into creators and even children. Children know fantastic animals like unicorns and pegasuses are not true, but they know the good books of the universe. From my childhood, I can remember that “Sunny with a Chance of Meatballs” inspired me to devote my time to reading and learning more, knowing that truth lies within the secret door placed into fictional fluff.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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