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Literature Study GuidesThe Dispossessed

The Dispossessed | Study Guide

Ursula K. Le Guin

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Course Hero. "The Dispossessed Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Dec. 2019. Web. 27 Jan. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "The Dispossessed Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed January 27, 2023.


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Ursula K. Le Guin

Year Published





Science Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

The Dispossessed is told in the third person by an omniscient narrator.


The Dispossessed is told in the past tense.

About the Title

The title The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia expresses the sense of exile that the novel's protagonist, Shevek, feels as an inhabitant of the planet Anarres, cut off from his ancestors' history on the planet Urras. It may also be a reference to Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Possessed, which is likewise about anarchists. The novel is an "ambiguous utopia" because, despite its positive presentation of the ideals on which Anarres is founded, Le Guin presents the ways in which the people of Anarres struggle and sometimes fail to live up to those principles. It is thus not a total utopia, an imagined perfect society.


This study guide for Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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