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 3-4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary

Lyubov has a headache. He tries to daydream the headache away, as Selver taught him. He can’t concentrate; he is too preoccupied with the burning of Camp Smith because “[h]e had believed the Athsheans to be incapable of killing men, his kind or their kind” (63). He goes to a meeting at HQ. Davidson is already there. The room is filled with people from the ship Shackleton. Several of them are new to him, “non-Terran humans” (65), including a hairy Cetian named Mr. Or and a Hainishman named Mr. Lepennon.

Commander Yung gives a debrief of the destruction of Smith Camp and opens the floor up for those present to question Davidson, who returned to the camp the day after the attacks and set fires to drive creechies out of hiding. Mr. Lepennon asks him if the camp staff—the creechies—were content. And if so, why would they revolt? Davidson says they were well treated and were never required to perform unusual work.

Lyubov asks Davidson if he is aware that Selver—who they know as Sam—had a grudge against him. Davidson says he did not know. This audacity surprises Lyubov, who says, “‘Since his wife died immediately subsequent to sexual intercourse with you, he holds you responsible for her death.