A grim land of the dead holds a central place in Le Guin’s Earthsea series. This underworld, its relationship with the land of the living, and its final transformation, have important psychological meanings: Le Guin demonstrates that to develop a self that is integrated, differentiated, and vibrant, not only does the conscious mind need connection with the unconscious, but the unconscious mind needs connection with the conscious ego as well. Le Guin further demonstrates that these connections between the conscious and unconscious mind must take different forms across the lifespan. The arc of Ged’s story provides the rare opportunity to observe a literary character’s changing relationship to death as he matures and ages. This changing relationship plays out as Ged dies four times: in actuality at the end, and thrice symbolically before that.
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