The Dispossessed

Keng Character Analysis

The Terran ambassador on Urras. Struck by the failure of Earth—whose population now hovers below half a billion—she sees Urras as a kind of paradise. Shevek tells her of his plans for the ansible, a device which will allow for instantaneous communication between the planets of the galaxy, in order to keep it from becoming property of the Ioti.

Keng Quotes in The Dispossessed

The The Dispossessed quotes below are all either spoken by Keng or refer to Keng. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of The Dispossessed published in 1974.
Chapter 11 Quotes

“There is nothing on Urras that we Anarresti need! We left with empty hands, a hundred and seventy years ago, and we were right. We took nothing. Because there is nothing here but States and their weapons, the rich and their lies, and the poor and their misery. There is no way to act rightly, with a clear heart, on Urras. There is nothing you can do that profit does not enter into. There is no freedom. It is a box—Urras is a package with all the beautiful wrapping of blue sky and meadows and forests and great cities. And you open the box, and what is inside it? A black cellar full of dust, and a dead man. A man whose hand was shot off because he held it out to others. I have been in Hell at last, [and] it is Urras.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Keng
Page Number: 346-347
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I only ask your help, for which I have nothing to give in return.”

“Nothing? You call your theory nothing?”

“Weight it in the balance with the freedom of one single human spirit,” [Shevek] said, turning to [Keng], “and which will weigh heavier. Can you tell? I cannot.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Keng (speaker)
Page Number: 351
Explanation and Analysis:
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Keng Character Timeline in The Dispossessed

The timeline below shows where the character Keng appears in The Dispossessed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...of the women standing above him informs him that she is the Ambassador—her name is Keng, and they will speak after he rests. Shevek thinks the woman’s voice sounds like Takver’s,... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...for two days, Shevek is fed, dressed, and shown into the Ambassador’s office. The Ambassador, Keng, apologizes for the fact that the two must speak in Iotic—the only common tongue they... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...Terran embassy is to the Council of World Governments and not the nation of A-Io, Keng says, Shevek brings no risk or burden upon the Terrans by seeking refuge with them.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Keng tells Shevek that she heard his demonstration speech on the clandestine radio, and was moved... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Keng admits that she knows almost nothing about Anarres—she only knows what the Urrasti have told... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Shevek tells Keng that he was meant to be kept away from the unrest, confined to the University... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Shevek explains to Keng why he came to this world: he came for the sake of his idea—to learn... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Keng asks Shevek about Anarres, and about why he left. Shevek says that he left because... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
Keng tells Shevek that to her and her fellow Terrans, Urras is “the kindliest, most various,... (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Shevek tells Keng that she does not understand time. Haunted by a wasted past and fearful of an... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Keng asks Shevek why it is he came to her in the first place. Shevek tells... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Shevek asks Keng for her help in returning home to Anarres—he does not want to be jailed or... (full context)