The short story “The Rule of Names” by Ursula K. Le Guin has a traditional plot structure and follows a single main event (the revealing of Mr. Underhill’s true identity). 


The title of the short story, “The Rule of Names”, is intriguing, as we do not know to what kind of rule the story refers to (grammatical or otherwise). The title refers to a rule of names which is valid in the fictional universe of the story: “ ‘It ain't polite to ask anybody what his name is,’ shouted a fat, quick boy, interrupted by a little girl shrieking, ‘You can't never tell your own name to nobody my ma says!’ ” 

The purpose of the rule is to avoid anybody having control over somebody else. Consequently, the title is a reference to the superstitious nature of people in Sattins and to the importance of words as a source of magic.

The title is also a reference to an important element of the plot, as a black magic wizard tries to control the dragon who takes the shape of Mr. Underhill by calling it by his real name, Yevaud. However, this does not help the wizard to control Mr. Underhill. On the contrary, the use of Mr. Underhill’s true name reveals that his true shape is a ...

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