Themes and message


One of the main themes of “The Rule of Names” by Ursula K. Le Guin is appearances. This is explored through the main characters of the short story, Mr. Underhill and Blackbeard. The villagers of Sattins judge both of them based on appearances. Because Mr. Underhill is fat, strange-looking, and because his spells do not always work, the villagers believe he is harmless and incompetent. Furthermore, the girls tend to shy away from him.

However, the end of the short story proves that the villagers were wrong in their judgment. Mr. Underhill is only a disguise that a powerful dragon takes to hide from people looking for him for stealing a treasure. The girls, therefore, had a reason to feel “nervous” (p. 68, l. 23) around him, as dragons are known to eat young vi...

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