The Dispossessed

Shevek Character Analysis

An Anarresti physicist and the novel’s protagonist. Shevek is an idealist and a dreamer who longs to use his gifts as a physicist to reconcile the rival, twin planets of Urras and Anarres. As Shevek advances in his career, he begins to understand the ways in which the idealized collectivism of Anarres is not as perfect as it seems. His theories, to which he dedicates his life, are taken from him under the pretense of the idea that on Anarres, nothing belongs to anyone, and everything belongs to everyone. As a physicist, he begins to feel that his work can’t advance any further without the help of Urrasti scientists and their intellectual and physical resources, but he also has a personal longing to understand the world of Urras. As Shevek flirts with the prospect of traveling to Urras, he strains against the idea of Anarres as a free or utopic society, and begins to see how it is lacking. His disillusionment is further compounded when he is separated from his partner (Takver) and their firstborn child after Takver is sent far away on a work assignment. As Shevek is slowly shut out of his role at the Institute in Abbenay because his research is deemed nonessential, traveling to Urras becomes more and more alluring to him, even though his colleagues and Syndicate supervisors oppose the idea. On Urras, Shevek encounters a world that appears to be a utopia from the outside, but which is actually in a state of grave civil unrest. Moreover, Shevek realizes that Urras is not a safe place for him to explore and finalize his theories, either (for here, too, his work will be taken away from him, this time by the Ioti state). Thus, he seeks refuge in Thu—a socialist Urrasti state in the throes of a rebellion. In the end, Shevek gives his general temporal theory to the Terran embassy, in hopes that his dream of brotherhood throughout the entire galaxy will at last come to fruition.

Shevek Quotes in The Dispossessed

The The Dispossessed quotes below are all either spoken by Shevek or refer to Shevek. 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 2 Quotes

The knobby baby stood up. His face was a glare of sunlight and anger. His diapers were about to fall off. “Mine!” He said in a high, ringing voice. “Mine sun!”

“It is not yours,” the one-eyed woman said with the mildness of utter certainty. “Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it you cannot use it.” And she picked the knobby baby up with gentle hands and set him aside, out of the square of sunlight.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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“We don’t leave Anarres, because we are Anarres. But are we kept here by force? What force—what laws, governments, police? None. Simply our own being, our nature as Odonians. It’s your nature to be Tirin, and my nature to be Shevek, and our common nature to be Odonians, responsible to one another. And that responsibility is our freedom. To avoid it would be to lose our freedom. Would you really like to live in a society where you had no responsibility and no freedom, no choice, only the false option of obedience to the law, or disobedience followed by punishment? Would you really want to go live in a prison?”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Bedap, Tirin
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 3 Quotes

[Shevek] had no right to tease them. They knew no relation but possession. They were possessed.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Saio Pae, Demaere Oiie
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
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When Shevek asked, with some diffidence, if he might see the place where Odo was buried, they whisked him straight to the old cemetery in the Trans-Sua district. They even allowed newsmen to photograph him standing there in the shade of the great old willows, looking at the plain, well-kept tombstone:

Laia Aseio Odo

698-796

To be whole is to be part;

True voyage is return.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker)
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
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[Shevek] had come to love Urras, but what good was his yearning love? He was not part of it. Nor was he part of the world of his birth. The loneliness, the certainty of isolation that he had felt in his first hour aboard the Mindful rose up in him and asserted itself as his true condition, ignored, suppressed, but absolute. He was alone here because he came from a self-exiled society. He had always been alone on his own world because he had exiled himself from his society. And he had been fool enough to think that he might serve to bring together two worlds to which he did not belong.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker)
Page Number: 89-90
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

“The law of existence is struggle—competition—elimination of the weak—a ruthless war for survival. And I want to see the best survive. The kind of humanity I know. The Cetians. You and I: Urras and Anarres. We’re ahead of them now, all those Hainish and Terrans and whatever else they call themselves, and we’ve got to stay ahead of them. They brought us the interstellar drive, but we’re making better interstellar ships now than they are. When you come to release your Theory, I earnestly hope you’ll think of your duty to your own people, your own kind. Of what loyalty means, and to whom it’s due.”

Related Characters: Atro (speaker), Shevek
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

“We have no government, no laws. But as far as I can see, ideas were never controlled by laws and governments, even on Urras. You can’t crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. By refusing to think, refusing to change. And that’s precisely what our society is doing! Sabul uses you, and prevents you from publishing, from teaching, even from working. In other words, he has power over you. Where does he get it from? Not from vested authority, there isn’t any. He gets it from the innate cowardice of the human mind. Public opinion! That’s the power structure he’s part of, and knows how to use. The unadmitted, inadmissible government that rules Odonian society by stifling the individual mind… Government [is defined as] the legal use of power to maintain and extend power. Replace ‘legal’ with ‘customary,’ and you’ve got Sabul, and the Syndicate of Instruction, and the PDC.”

Related Characters: Bedap (speaker), Shevek, Sabul –
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

It was difficult for him to distrust the people he was with. He had been brought up in a culture that relied deliberately and constantly on human solidarity, mutual aid. Alienated as he was in some ways from that culture, and alien as he was to this one, still the lifelong habit remained: he assumed people would be helpful. He trusted them. But Chifoilisk’s warnings, which he had tried to dismiss, kept returning to him. His own perceptions and instincts reinforced them. Like it or not, he must learn distrust. He must be silent; he must keep his property to himself; he must keep his bargaining power.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Chifoilisk
Page Number: 228-229
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“It is an ugly world. Anarres is all dusty and dry hills. And the people aren’t beautiful. The towns are very small and dull, they are dreary. Life is dull, and hard work. You can’t always have what you want, or even what you need, because there isn’t enough. You Urrasti have enough. You are rich, you own. We are poor, we lack. You have, we do not have. Everything is beautiful here. Only not the faces. On Anarres nothing is beautiful, nothing but the faces. We have nothing but that, nothing but each other. Here you see the jewels, there you see the eyes. And in the eyes you see the splendor of the human spirit. Because our men and women are free—possessing nothing, they are free. And you the possessors are possessed. You are all in jail. Each alone, solitary, with a heap of what he owns. You live in prison, die in prison. It is all I can see in your eyes—the wall, the wall!

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Wall
Page Number: 228-229
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

On Anarres [Shevek] had chosen, in defiance of the expectation of his society, to do the work he was individually called to do. To do it was to rebel: to risk the self for the sake of society. Here on Urras, that act of rebellion was a luxury, a self-indulgence. To be a physicist in A-Io was to serve not society, not mankind, not the truth, but the State. On his first night in this room he had asked them, challenging and curious, “What are you going to do with me?” He knew now what they had done with him. Chifoilisk had told him the simple fact. They owned him.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Chifoilisk
Page Number: 272
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“Do you know what your society has meant, here, to us, these last hundred and fifty years? Do you know that when people here want to wish each other luck they say, ‘May you get reborn on Anarres!’ To know that it exists, to know that there is a society without government, without police, without economic exploitation, that they can never again say that it’s just a mirage, an idealist’s dream! I wonder if you fully understand why they’ve kept you so well hidden out there at Ieu Eun. Why you were never allowed to appear at any meeting open to the public. Why they’ll be after you like dogs after a rabbit the moment they find you’re gone. It’s not just because they want this idea of yours. But because you are an idea. A dangerous one. The idea of anarchism, made flesh. Walking amongst us.”

Related Characters: Tuio Maedda (speaker), Shevek
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

“Neither of us chose [to surrender to Sabul’s authoritarianism]. We let Sabul choose for us. Our own, internalized Sabul—convention, moralism, fear of social ostracism, fear of being different, fear of being free! Well, never again. I learn slowly, but I learn.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Takver, a thrill of agreeable excitement in her voice.

“Go to Abbenay with you and start a printing syndicate. Print the Principles, uncut. And whatever else we like. Bedap’s [paper] that the PDC wouldn’t circulate. And Tirin’s play. I owe him that. He taught me what prisons are, and who builds them. Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I’m going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I’m going to go unbuild walls.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Takver (speaker), Bedap, Sabul – , Tirin
Related Symbols: The Wall
Page Number: 332
Explanation and Analysis:
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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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Chapter 12 Quotes

“What we’re after is to remind ourselves that we didn’t come to Anarres for safety, but for freedom. If we must all agree, all work together, we’re no better than a machine. If an individual can’t work in solidarity with his fellows, it’s his duty to work alone. His duty and his right. We have been denying people that right. We’ve been saying, more and more often, you must work with the others, you must accept the rule of the majority. But any rule is tyranny. The duty of the individual is to accept no rule, to be the initiator of his own acts. Only if he does so will the society live, and change, and adapt, and survive. We are not subjects of a State founded upon law, but members of a society founded upon revolution. Revolution is our obligation. We can’t stop here. We must go on. We must take the risks.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Rulag, Bedap
Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 13 Quotes

“Things are…a little broken loose, on Anarres. That’s what my friends on the radio have been telling me. It was our purpose all along to shake things up, to break some habits, to make people ask question. To behave like anarchists! All this has been going on while I was gone. So, you see, nobody is quite sure what happens next. And if you land with me, even more gets broken loose…Once you are there, once you walk through the wall with me, then as I see it you are one of us. We are responsible to you and you to us; you become an Anarresti, with the same options as all the others. But they are not safe options. Freedom is never very safe.”

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Ketho
Related Symbols: The Wall
Page Number: 384
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I will lie down to sleep on Anarres tonight,” [Shevek] thought. “I will lie down beside Takver. I wish I’d brought the picture, the baby sheep, to give Pilun.” But he had not brought anything. His hands were empty, as they had always been.

Related Characters: Shevek (speaker), Takver, Sadik, Pilun
Page Number: 387
Explanation and Analysis:
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Shevek Character Timeline in The Dispossessed

The timeline below shows where the character Shevek appears in The Dispossessed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...doctor and urges the passenger to follow him. The stranger addresses the passenger as Dr. Shevek. Shevek insists that he is not a doctor—he is just Shevek. (full context)
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The doctor is a short, fair, and bald-headed man. Anxious, he tells Shevek that Shevek should get to his cabin quickly—there is a high risk of infection now... (full context)
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The doctor brings Shevek to a room with blank walls. Shevek, exhausted from lack of sleep the night before,... (full context)
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The doctor examines Shevek’s shoulder—Shevek hardly remembers being struck at all—and then turns to him holding a large needle.... (full context)
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In the blank room, Shevek finds himself in a “wretched void without past or future” that seems to last for... (full context)
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...panels on the walls opens them to reveal a toilet, sink, desk, closet, and shelves. Shevek bathes and dries himself, and then gets dressed in a set of pajamas. Not knowing... (full context)
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The doctor suggests that Shevek get dressed. Shevek, indicating his pajamas, says that he is dressed already, and the doctor... (full context)
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The doctor, noticing that Shevek has no luggage, assumes that Shevek lost his belongings while running to the ship from... (full context)
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...to the Urrasti as the Moon Run—normally takes about four days, the crew has given Shevek five days on board in order to adapt to his surroundings and allow his vaccinations... (full context)
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Shevek tells Kimoe that the Second Officer, too, has been regarding him with a kind of... (full context)
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Shevek asks why there are no women on board the ship, and Kimoe tells him that... (full context)
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...“feminine delicacy” and “masculine self-respect” when it comes to not dividing the sexes, and asks Shevek how the men of Anarres “constantly” pretend to lower themselves to the level of women.... (full context)
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Shevek wonders at the fact that he is now, on this new world, ignorant about all... (full context)
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As Shevek prepares to strap in for descent, Kimoe comes to his cabin to check on the... (full context)
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Once the ship lands, Shevek is hurried from his bunk and led down a ramp, and he feels a strange... (full context)
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As the car approaches the Ieu Eun university in the city of Nio Esseia, Shevek’s handlers warn him that there are a great number of people waiting to meet him—the... (full context)
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...makes a speech, toasting a “new era of brotherhood between the Twin Planets,” and citing Shevek himself as the harbinger of this new era. Shevek is introduced to politicians, scientists, and... (full context)
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When the party is over, Shevek’s escorts bring him to a different building, where they show him a room which is... (full context)
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Pae brings Shevek a glass of water, while the other two men bring Shevek over to sit at... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...The matron enters the room to separate the two children, warning the knobby one—a young Shevek—that “nothing” is his, and that if something cannot be shared it cannot be used at... (full context)
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...learning center, a lanky eight-year-old child stands up to offer his voice. The child is Shevek, and his instructor urges him to share his idea with the group. Shevek describes a... (full context)
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Shevek goes out into the hallway as his classmates begin telling a group story, taking turns... (full context)
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Shevek decides that he can wait for such a thing to come about—he is good at... (full context)
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On one of these visits with his father, Shevek asks Palat if Palat has ever seen a book only made of numbers. Palat takes... (full context)
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In his dreams that evening, Shevek runs across barren land toward a dark, dense, and high wall. He longs to cross... (full context)
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Some years later, in school, Shevek and his friends are reading the Life of Odo, a book of Anarresti history. The... (full context)
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...be let out again, and Kadagv agrees. Realizing that in prisons, prisoners were given meals, Shevek urges two other boys to go get some leftovers from the cafeteria, so that Kadagv... (full context)
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Back at their dormitory, Tirin and Shevek decide that they will force Kadagv to spend two full days in prison. The following... (full context)
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After dinner, Gibesh, who has been standing guard outside the “cell,” approaches Tirin and Shevek to tell them that he heard Kadagv calling out in an odd voice. Shevek wants... (full context)
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Shevek takes Kadagv to the baths to get cleaned up, and then goes alone to the... (full context)
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...should be able to go to Urras and help the Urrasti—however, they are forbidden to. Shevek argues that the word “forbidden” is not “organic,” and that no one on Anarres forbids... (full context)
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...trees and dried the soil, creating a dust that covers everything. At eighteen years old, Shevek, now out of the Institute and stuck in the Dust on a work assignment, longs... (full context)
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Everyone living and working in the Dust suffers from the same cough. Shevek has a few friends, with whom he talks while passing the time working on planting... (full context)
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Despite his dissatisfaction, Shevek marvels at the happiness he achieves from completing tangible work in a group. One night,... (full context)
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Shevek embarks on a sexual relationship with a woman named Beshun. Eventually, Shevek’s rotation on the... (full context)
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At a truck depot on his way back to the Institute, Shevek finds himself in a philosophical discussion with another man, Vokep, who asserts that “all women... (full context)
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Shevek is delighted to return to the scenic and familiar Regional Institute. Though Shevek believes that... (full context)
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Shevek feels he has grown up quite a lot in the year he has been away,... (full context)
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Mitis tells Shevek that Sabul will now want him to come to Abbenay to work alongside him. Shevek... (full context)
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The night before Shevek leaves for Abbenay, his friends throw him a party. They have pooled their resources to... (full context)
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As Shevek waxes poetic on the nature of suffering, he argues that no society, no matter how... (full context)
Chapter 3
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On Urras, Shevek wakes late in the morning. His nose is stuffed and his throat is sore, but... (full context)
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Shevek looks out the window of his room at the world outside, where a broad valley... (full context)
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There is a knock at the door, and Shevek shouts for the knocker to come in. A man enters, carrying packages. He is older... (full context)
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Shevek dresses, and as he is putting on his shoes, there is another knock at the... (full context)
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Shevek gleefully recounts the years of letters he and Atro have sent back and forth, comparing... (full context)
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Oiie asks about Sabul, and what the relationship between him and Shevek is—Oiie recalls a period of six years or so during which Shevek never wrote, and... (full context)
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Shevek sneezes, and complains of his allergies to his colleagues. He tells them that he does... (full context)
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Atro notes that Chifoilisk is an “unregenerate Thuvian,” and then laments that Shevek has not brought along even papers or new work for the scientists to study and... (full context)
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...no “offworlders” anywhere else in the galaxy can keep up with Urrasti physics. Atro warns Shevek not to let offworld theories sidetrack him, and urges him to focus on his own... (full context)
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...his conversation with Pae and Oiie, which takes them through the halls of the University, Shevek tells Pae and Oiie that he wishes to ask them a question, but does not... (full context)
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Shevek asks the scientists where all the women are. He notes that he met women at... (full context)
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Attempting to steer the subject towards something new, Shevek stands up and looks out a window, remarking on the beauty of Urras and expressing... (full context)
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Oiie asks Shevek if he has come as an emissary of Anarresti society, and Shevek replies that he... (full context)
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Over the next couple days, Shevek entertains a host of scientists who come to visit him. He reads books of Urrasti... (full context)
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Atro brings Shevek a stack of newspapers, but after Atro leaves the room, Pae tells Shevek to throw... (full context)
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Shevek picks up another newspaper, written in a language and alphabet he does not know. The... (full context)
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Shevek tells Pae that a group from Benbili sent his syndicate a message not too long... (full context)
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After three days, Shevek is finally allowed out of his rooms. His escorts lead him around the university and... (full context)
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After weeks of “the tourist life,” Shevek becomes anxious to settle down and begin his work at the University. On his final... (full context)
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After leaving the Foundation, Shevek asks to make one last stop at the Fort in Drio, where Odo once spent... (full context)
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Back in his room, Shevek sits by the fire and listens to the sounds of music echoing from a nearby... (full context)
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Shevek believes himself foolish for having thought he could bring together two worlds when he belongs... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Shevek wakes on an airship bound for the city of Abbenay, the night of his farewell... (full context)
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Shevek looks down on the green splendor of Ans Hos, the Eden of Anarres. Centuries ago,... (full context)
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The airship lands, and Shevek sets off into the streets of Abbenay, the largest city on Anarres. The streets are... (full context)
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The city is busy, and Shevek takes in the sounds and sights of people talking, working, gossiping, and playing as he... (full context)
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As it grows dark, Shevek leaves the park and heads for the Central Institute of the Sciences. At the entrance,... (full context)
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In the morning, Shevek meets Sabul—the physicist who is to be his mentor. Sabul is squat and slovenly, dressed... (full context)
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As Sabul prepares to leave, he tells Shevek not to share the Urrasti texts with anyone. Shevek is confused by the directive to... (full context)
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Shevek sets to the task of learning Iotic, isolated in his room from the rest of... (full context)
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As Shevek delves deeper and deeper into the Urrasti texts, he grows more and more hermitic, neglecting... (full context)
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After half a year at the Institute, Shevek presents Sabul with a critique of the Urrasti physicist Atro’s work. Sabul orders Shevek to... (full context)
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In addition to the communication with Urras, Shevek finds his ideals tested in other ways. The fact that he must learn Iotic but... (full context)
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As Shevek works toward a theory of Simultaneity, he struggles with his desire to also research and... (full context)
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One day, Shevek stops into the physics office to see if any letters have arrived, and he runs... (full context)
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The two men argue, and Shevek at last realizes that Mitis’s warning has come true: he is indeed Sabul’s man. Nevertheless,... (full context)
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After several days, Shevek realizes he is not getting better, and he checks himself into a local clinic, where... (full context)
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When Shevek wakes up again, he feels well at last. A woman sits at Shevek’s bedside and... (full context)
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Rulag asks if Shevek is still in touch with his father, Palat, and Shevek tells her that Palat has... (full context)
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...but that Palat was the more parental one in their partnership. Rulag offers to help Shevek find his way in Abbenay—she is well-connected, she says, and would be happy to advise... (full context)
Chapter 5
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On Urras, Shevek is relieved to no longer be a tourist. As the new term begins at the... (full context)
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Shevek has a surplus of free time—he has not had so much since his early years... (full context)
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Shevek is paid for his published papers and receives a salary from the university. He understands... (full context)
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Over the mid-autumn holiday, Shevek gives himself a bit of a break. He sleeps, walks, reads, and tries to remind... (full context)
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...his home state of Thu, Chifoilisk says, the people are socialists, just like the Anarresti. Shevek argues that Thu is centralized, though, even moreso than A-Io, and they have a money... (full context)
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Chifoilisk warns Shevek against Pae, who is a “loyal, ambitious agent of the Ioti government,” and who reports... (full context)
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Shevek counters Chifoilisk’s warnings that he is a “child among thieves” and a victim of Ioti... (full context)
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Chifoilisk asks Shevek if he has written the theory down yet, and when Shevek tells him that he... (full context)
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Chifoilisk implores Shevek to come to Thu once he is finally able to see what is going on... (full context)
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Less than a week later, Shevek is informed by Pae that Chifoilisk has been summoned back to Thu. Pae wonders what... (full context)
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Shevek finds a comradeship in Atro—he visits the man’s home a couple of times a week,... (full context)
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Atro asks Shevek about his research, and when Shevek tells Atro he is working on gravitational theories, Atro... (full context)
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Each day Shevek is invited to numerous parties and formal receptions around the capital, and he goes to... (full context)
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Feeling that he is profoundly out of touch with anyone or anything on Urras, Shevek asks his fellow scientists if he can learn a bit more about how they live.... (full context)
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Shevek is introduced to Oiie’s wife, and feels grateful to once again be able to converse... (full context)
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That night, sleeping in Oiie’s home, Shevek dreams of Takver. In his dream, they are on the Moon together, and they are... (full context)
Chapter 6
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After spending ten days in the hospital on Anarres recovering from his pneumonia, Shevek returns to his room at the Institute. His neighbor, Desar, comes to visit him, and... (full context)
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Shevek divides his time between physics and committee work in Institute domicile management, restricting himself from... (full context)
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Though Shevek recommits himself to his work, he feels it is going nowhere. He cannot get any... (full context)
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A few times a year, Shevek receives a letter back from Urras—occasionally from Atro, and sometimes even from other scientists in... (full context)
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At the end of his third year at the Institute, Gvarab dies, and Shevek speaks at her memorial. During his eulogy, he laments the fact that Gvarab and her... (full context)
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Shevek stops in front of the Music Syndicate to read the posters for the upcoming decad,... (full context)
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...men walk and talk, catching up and enjoying each other’s company. Eventually, they return to Shevek’s room at the Institute. Bedap looks through Shevek’s notebooks, and asks why Shevek’s notes are... (full context)
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Bedap tells Shevek that the problem is that Anarresti society is designed to stifle the individual mind. Bedap... (full context)
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Bedap tells Shevek that he has not shared any of his ideas because he does not want to... (full context)
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The next evening, Shevek and Bedap meet up again, and have a conversation about whether or not they should... (full context)
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Shevek is still getting nowhere with his work, and has more or less abandoned temporal physics... (full context)
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Shevek accompanies Bedap and some of his friends on a hiking trip—three men and three women... (full context)
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On the fourth day of the hike, weary from the physical exertion, Takver and Shevek take a break together, relaxing on a grassy knoll. Shevek tells Takver that he has... (full context)
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After the hiking trip is over, Shevek and Takver move into a double room on the north end of Abbenay. Both Shevek... (full context)
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Takver’s schedule at the laboratory where she works studying fish populations is demanding, and Shevek spends a lot of time alone in their room making notes and calculations. He slowly... (full context)
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One night, lying in bed, Shevek and Takver watch the Moon rise. Takver remarks on how beautiful Urras looks, though she... (full context)
Chapter 7
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In Urras, at the turn of the season, Shevek orders a custom-made winter coat from a shop on the high street. When it arrives,... (full context)
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Shevek is taken aback by the letter, and feels a kind of panic set in. He... (full context)
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Shevek asks Efor, his manservant, if the two of them can have a talk. Shevek tells... (full context)
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During the break between winter and spring terms, Oiie invites Shevek to spend a week at his home. While Shevek is at Oiie’s, a heavy snow... (full context)
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Oiie’s wife asks Shevek if he will bring Vea to the train station so she doesn’t have to walk... (full context)
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When the two arrive at the station, Vea asks if Shevek has a wife and a family. He tells her he has a partner and two... (full context)
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...and rebels have taken over the capital. Curious about the relatively obscure nation of Benbili, Shevek researches it, and finds that it is a large but underpopulated and very poor country... (full context)
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On the way to class one morning, Shevek decides not to go, and instead boards a train to Nio Esseia. While on the... (full context)
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After exiting the train station, Shevek finds himself feeling directionless, unsure of what to do, and a little overwhelmed by the... (full context)
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Shevek and Vea meet up at a nearby garden. They eat lunch at a restaurant in... (full context)
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Shevek and Vea attend a matinee at a local theater, and then go for dinner downtown... (full context)
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...a full-length pleated skirt. Soon guests begin to arrive, and as the party gets underway Shevek continues drinking, never having consumed alcohol before and unaware of its effects. He carries on... (full context)
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Shevek, who has become very drunk, has trouble keeping up with any one conversation, but when... (full context)
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Vea accompanies Shevek to a bedroom, where she kisses him and calls him “magnificent.” Shevek kisses Vea back,... (full context)
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Oiie and Pae arrive at the apartment to take Shevek home. In the limousine, headed back for the university, Oiie tells Pae he is relieved... (full context)
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Pae and Oiie help Shevek upstairs to his room and put him to bed. As they do so, Pae asks... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...Day, which commemorates the first great uprising back on Urras nearly two hundred years earlier. Shevek, Takver, and a group of their friends have just finished feasting, and sit in a... (full context)
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One night, Takver comes home from a difficult day to find Shevek siting alone in the dark. When she asks him what’s wrong, he tells her that... (full context)
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Takver suggests that Shevek offer Sabul a co-writing credit and see if that sways him, since Sabul himself is... (full context)
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One afternoon, Shevek arrives home to find Takver in labor. He goes to fetch the midwife, but she... (full context)
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Late in the summer, Shevek is posted to an emergency farm draft far from Abbenay. Some rain has fallen in... (full context)
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The night before Shevek leaves, he and Takver and Bedap all have dinner together. Shevek toasts Sadik, the baby,... (full context)
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After Shevek leaves for his work assignment, he and Takver write one another once a decad. Shevek... (full context)
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Shevek takes a train back to Abbenay. Though Anarresti trains are usually reliable, in the midst... (full context)
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...a laboratory in the Northeast for an indeterminate amount of time. She has requested that Shevek be posted nearby, but the Divlab will not honor this request until Shevek requests it... (full context)
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The next morning Shevek runs into his next-door neighbor, a greedy woman who has long coveted Shevek and Takver’s... (full context)
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At the dining hall, Shevek runs into his old neighbor Desar. Desar informs him that there has been a reorganizing... (full context)
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Shevek goes looking for Sabul, and finds him in his office. Sabul says that things at... (full context)
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Shevek leaves Sabul’s office and goes downtown to the Divlab to request a posting near Takver.... (full context)
Chapter 9
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The morning after Vea’s party, Shevek is awakened by nearby chapel bells. He feels sick and shaky, and even after a... (full context)
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On Anarres, doing his physics research—the work Shevek was called to do though it did not benefit Anarresti society in its time of... (full context)
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Shevek resolves to no longer do physics for the good of the Ioti state, and wonders... (full context)
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Efor comes in with Shevek’s breakfast and sets it down. As he leaves, Pae comes in to check on Shevek.... (full context)
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...“restrictions” will soon come into effect—travel will be limited, publishing papers will take longer, and Shevek will be prevented from leaving the University campus without permission from the Chancellor. Pae excuses... (full context)
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After Pae leaves, Shevek tells Efor to turn away any visitors and tell them he is hard at work.... (full context)
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As Shevek considers Terran theories of relativity, he experiences a major breakthrough in his own work, and... (full context)
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Shevek paces around his room, marveling at how now that he has “seen the foundations of... (full context)
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In the morning, Efor brings Shevek breakfast. Shevek is running a fever, and Efor suggests calling a doctor. Shevek refuses, and... (full context)
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Over the next few days Efor cares for Shevek, bringing him food and water and helping to lower his fever. Shevek tells Efor he... (full context)
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Efor tells Shevek to get some rest, but Shevek insists he is not tired. Efor asks Shevek if... (full context)
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The next evening, Atro calls on Shevek. He warns Shevek against wearing himself out by working too hard, and updates him on... (full context)
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After Atro leaves, Efor comes to collect Shevek’s dinner tray. Shevek hands Efor a slip of paper—on it is written the question, “Is... (full context)
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Shevek begs Efor to tell him where to go and who to ask for. Efor tells... (full context)
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Shevek tells Efor that he cannot return to Anarres until he meets the people searching for... (full context)
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Shevek takes a taxi away from the University, then transfers to a subway train to Old... (full context)
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At Tuio Maedda’s grocery store, Shevek is led to a back room where he meets Tuio face to face. Tuio asks... (full context)
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Tuio tells Shevek that he will shelter him for the night. Tuio also informs Shevek that an underground... (full context)
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Tuio tells Shevek that Anarresti society has been a beacon of hope to the Urrasti lower classes for... (full context)
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Shevek hides out in attics and basements over the next several days, and Tuio brings him... (full context)
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At the demonstration, Shevek is grateful to be outside after having been locked away for so many days. He... (full context)
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A hundred thousand people or more are in the Capitol Square for the protest—more people, Shevek realizes, than live in all of Abbenay. Shevek stands with Tuio Maedda and his group... (full context)
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Shevek drags a man alongside him as he flees Capitol Square. He tells the man to... (full context)
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Shevek tended to such wounds during his time at the mills in the Southwest, back on... (full context)
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Shevek stays with his companion for three nights, during which they hear sporadic fighting. Shevek considers... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Shevek has long been stationed in the Southwest of Anarres, and now he is being taken... (full context)
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The driver asks Shevek where he has been working, and Shevek tells him “Grand Valley.” The driver solemnly acknowledges... (full context)
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Shevek arrives in a city called Chakar at late dusk. He approaches a domicile and enters... (full context)
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Shevek sits on the bed and wipes his eyes, and Sadik offers him her handkerchief. Shevek... (full context)
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It is Sadik’s bedtime, and Takver and Shevek walk her to the children’s dormitory, where she sleeps each night, though she is only... (full context)
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Takver regrets not having refused her initial posting away from Abbenay, but Shevek reassures her and urges her not to linger on the past. They embrace, grateful to... (full context)
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...her notice at work, but still works long shifts even though the drought has broken. Shevek, mildly sick with a chronic Dust cough, spends his days sleeping and taking walks, often... (full context)
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Takver and Shevek discuss Sadik, as well as their childhood friends, on their nights alone. They reminisce about... (full context)
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Takver draws parallels between Tirin’s persecution for artistic expression and Shevek’s for “unproductive” research. Shevek looks back on his own capitulation to Sabul’s “authoritarianism,” and argues... (full context)
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Shevek expresses his desire to return to Abbenay, with Takver and Sadik beside him, and start... (full context)
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That night, after Takver falls asleep, Shevek lies awake. He reflects on how over the last four years, he has learned the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...hour by trail from Nio Esseia. The Terran embassy is also located in Roddared, and Shevek arrives there at seven in the morning and asks to see the Terran ambassador. He... (full context)
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Shevek remains steadfast, insisting on seeing the ambassador right away. While the clerk dials a telephone,... (full context)
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Many people descend upon Shevek, removing his bloody coat and tending to him. The men and women surrounding him tell... (full context)
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After sleeping for two days, Shevek is fed, dressed, and shown into the Ambassador’s office. The Ambassador, Keng, apologizes for the... (full context)
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...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. She tells... (full context)
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Keng tells Shevek that she heard his demonstration speech on the clandestine radio, and was moved by his... (full context)
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...told her. She believes Anarres to be a “rather unimportant [but] interesting experiment,” and wants Shevek to tell her more about it. Furthermore, she wonders why the Ioti government, knowing such... (full context)
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Shevek tells Keng that he was meant to be kept away from the unrest, confined to... (full context)
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Shevek explains to Keng why he came to this world: he came for the sake of... (full context)
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Keng asks Shevek about Anarres, and about why he left. Shevek says that he left because he was... (full context)
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Keng tells Shevek that to her and her fellow Terrans, Urras is “the kindliest, most various, most beautiful... (full context)
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Shevek tells Keng that she does not understand time. Haunted by a wasted past and fearful... (full context)
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Keng asks Shevek why it is he came to her in the first place. Shevek tells her that... (full context)
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Shevek asks Keng for her help in returning home to Anarres—he does not want to be... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Bedap has wondered several times since the winter after the famine, when he and Shevek first got together to form their Syndicate, whether the two of them have “set off... (full context)
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...give a speech. Bedap notices that as Rulag begins to speak, she continually stares at Shevek, who is seated beside him. (full context)
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Shevek speaks up and proposes the flip side of the question: what if an Anarresti is... (full context)
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Shevek speaks up, stating that their people did not come to Anarres for safety but for... (full context)
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Bedap withdraws the topic, and he and Shevek leave the meeting. As they walk out of the building, Bedap disparages Rulag, noting that... (full context)
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...no longer being rationed. Takver is thinking of quitting the fish lab where she works—as Shevek’s profile in Abbenay has risen, Takver’s fellow syndics are coming down harder on her lately.... (full context)
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Bedap warns Takver that his and Shevek’s Syndicate of Initiative had a difficult time at PDC today, and that Rulag threatened the... (full context)
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Shevek and Sadik come in. Sadik is ten years old now, and Bedap observes both her... (full context)
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Takver can’t believe that Shevek would even speak to Sabul, who has betrayed him and slandered him so many times.... (full context)
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After dinner and some conversation in the common room of Shevek and Takver’s domicile, Bedap and Shevek take Sadik back to her dormitory. At the entrance,... (full context)
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Shevek goes into the dormitory to tell the watchman that Sadik will not be staying the... (full context)
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Takver braids Sadik’s hair and tucks her into bed beside Pilun. Shevek and Takver get into their bed, and fret about what to do with Sadik. Takver... (full context)
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Shevek offers to come with her, but admits that the only real solution to their problems... (full context)
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Takver tells Shevek that he should go to Urras. Her voice is harsh and firm. The Urrasti want... (full context)
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Takver asks Shevek if it would be worth it for him to go to Urras despite the risk... (full context)
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Shevek tells Takver that he’s not going to go to Urras, but Takver insists that he... (full context)
Chapter 13
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As the ship bearing Shevek away from Urras breaks orbit, the stars of the universe—Anarres among them—come into view. Shevek... (full context)
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Shevek spends most of the journey in silence, speaking only when spoken to. Though many people... (full context)
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On the second day of his journey, Shevek speaks via radio to the Syndicate of Initiative back on Anarres, listening and answering their... (full context)
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Ketho asks Shevek if he fears being attacked upon returning, and Shevek concedes that he accepts the risk... (full context)
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Shevek asks Ketho if he wants to land with him rather than just alongside him, and... (full context)
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...that visiting Anarres is Ketho’s own wish, and that he understands it might be dangerous, Shevek tells Ketho that things are “a little broken loose on Anarres.” Though the purpose of... (full context)
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...new. He wonders why anyone is born if not to make each single life new. Shevek, in Pravic, tells Ketho that they are all “children of time.” Calling him brother, he... (full context)
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The following night, Shevek paces through the garden in starlight. He looks out the windows at Anarres, wondering if... (full context)
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...that they have obtained the entry pattern from the Anarresti ground control. The commander tells Shevek that as soon as he is ready, they will begin their descent, and Shevek tells... (full context)
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Shevek looks out the window again, watching as the sun begins to rise. He thinks excitedly... (full context)