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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Character Analysis

Captain Davidson

Captain Davidson is unapologetically hostiles toward the native Athsheans, whom he calls creechies, a derogatory term. Even though Earth humans and Athsheans have evolved from the same ancestry, he does not consider Athsheans human, citing their differences in appearances and mannerisms. Davidson’s worldview is in line with those of all racists and racist regimes. The Athsheans disgust him, and he believes that the humans have a duty to eradicate them and take their resources. Davidson is confused after Selver, the husband of an Athshean woman he rapes, spares his life after he leads an attack on an Earth human camp, but it does not make him repentant. He continues attacking Athshean settlements even after the other human officers have agreed to a truce. Davidson sees this as evidence that his former co-officers are race traitors. During his final attack on the natives, his airship crashes. He is taken captive by Selver and stranded on an uninhabited, treeless, lifeless part of the planet. At no point is he shown to have changed his mind about the Athsheans or to feel any remorse for his actions.