31 pages 1 hour read

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Word for World is Forest

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1972

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Chapters 1-2

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

Captain Don Davidson awakes, thinking about how “the new shipload of women had arrived” (9) at Centralville, which is twenty-seven light years from earth on the planet of Athshe. There were 212 of them. Davidson’s duty in New Tahiti, as the Earth humans call their colony on Athshe, is to tame it: “Can’t keep us down, we’re Men. You’ll learn what that means pretty soon, you godforsaken damn planet” (10). When he goes outside, a “creechie” (the derogatory term Earth humans have given to the Athsheans) named Ben is preparing hot water for the captain’s shave (10). Davidson decides to go to Centralville to see the women for himself: “He intended to be first in line with at least one of them this time” (11).

Ben brings Davidson’s breakfast. Ben is one meter tall and covered in white fur. Davidson knows that once he can get enough humans and machines here, they won’t need the creechies anymore, which pleases him: “This world, New Tahiti, was literally made for men” (11). He knows he will get what he wants because he always does. A “spesh” (anthropologist) named Kees Van Sten approaches with news that loggers have been poaching in an area called the Strips (11).