The Dispossessed

Odonians, an anarchist group originally from Urras, formed over one hundred and fifty years under their compassionate and idealistic leader, Odo. Eventually the Odonians defected to Anarres, where they were able to develop and put into practice an anarcho-syndicalist society built around the principles of communal living, humility, frugality, and compassion.

Odonians Quotes in The Dispossessed

The The Dispossessed quotes below are all either spoken by Odonians or refer to Odonians. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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

“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:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Dispossessed quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 3 Quotes

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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Dispossessed LitChart as a printable PDF.
The dispossessed.pdf.medium

Odonians Term Timeline in The Dispossessed

The timeline below shows where the term Odonians appears in The Dispossessed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...phallic-shaped weapon holstered on his belt and tells her that he does not want any “Oddies” giving him and his crew trouble. (full context)
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...all foreigners as inferior. Shevek tells the doctor that the onetime leader of the Anarresti, Odo, referred to this Urrasti phenomenon as “the creation of pseudo-species.” Shevek confesses that he had... (full context)
Chapter 2
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
...as it was in the footage, though it has been a long time since the Odonian Revolution, when Odonian Urrastis fled the planet and settled on Anarres. Tirin says that there... (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
...argues that Anarresti do not leave Anarres because they are Anarres, and that no true Odonian would want to travel to Urras to go live in a prison. Bedap says that... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...a partner at home. Shevek tells Gimar that he thinks “life partnership is against the Odonian ethic” of sharing. Gimar argues that in an economy of sharing, nothing is more precious... (full context)
Chapter 3
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
...with Shevek’s books and theories. Chifoilisk remarks that “human nature is human nature,” and even Odonians are not necessarily always peaceful. (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
...any women “capable of original intellectual work,” and Shevek cites his teachers Mitis and Gvarab. Odo, he says, was a woman as well. Instantly, Shevek can see that he has inspired... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...Benbili sent his syndicate a message not too long ago in which they called themselves Odonians. Shevek asks if any anarchist groups exist in A-Io, but Pae denies it. Shevek suddenly... (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 High Court, and several new housing developments. Shevek asks to see the place where Odo was buried, and his escorts bring him straight to the cemetery to pay respects to... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...the Foundation, Shevek asks to make one last stop at the Fort in Drio, where Odo once spent nine years imprisoned. Pae and Chifoilisk tell Shevek that the fort has long... (full context)
Chapter 4
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...when Anarres was still a mining colony that had not yet been settled by the Odonians, the first town, Anarres Town, was built at Ans Hos, and miners lived there under... (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
Eventually Anarres Town grew to hold a hundred thousand people and was renamed Abbenay. Odo, the leader of the Odonians, envisioned Anarres as a planet of many towns and settlements... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Humility and Moderation vs. Ego and Excess Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...thinks, though Abbenay has been built and structured plainly and efficiently just like any other Odonian community. Odo always said that “excess is excrement,” and the cities built according to her... (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
...holum trees. Soon he comes to a bench, upon which sits a stone statue of Odo. He sits down beside the statue, and contemplates the fact that though Odo is the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Freedom Theme Icon
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...to come out of exile. In Thu, he explains, he knows people are afraid that Odonians might bring back the old revolution, which the Thuvians gave up on before it was... (full context)
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...to, unless he wants the Ioti government to take it for their own. Chifoilisk quotes Odo, stating that “where there’s property there’s theft.” Chifoilisk also tells Shevek that if Shevek had... (full context)
Chapter 6
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
...Tirin, who had always been theatrically inclined, put on a play which some saw as anti-Odonian. As a result, he was posted to job after job which required intense physical outdoor... (full context)
Chapter 8
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
...have become imperative. Farmers cannot grow enough food, yet because everyone is working so hard—and Odonians take great pleasure in useful hard work—there is an undercurrent of joy throughout the summer.... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Failure of Utopian Ideals Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...a pile of dead children,” and Atro accuses Shevek of being soft, and as an Odonian refusing to consider “the virile side of life, blood and steel [and] love of the... (full context)
Freedom 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
...Tuio says that the city needs a strike, and that their movement could use an Odo. (full context)
Freedom 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
...that. One of the girls who works in the grocery pipes in to say that Odo was only an idea, but Shevek is proof. Tuio asks Shevek to join their nonviolent... (full context)
Chapter 10
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
...own will, and has recognized its irrepressible nature. He has reconciled this drive with his Odonian values, and now has realized that his sense of “primary responsibility towards his work” is... (full context)
Chapter 11
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
...he was wrong to leave—there is nothing on Urras that the Anarresti need. When the Odonians left nearly two hundred years ago with empty hands, Shevek says, they were right to... (full context)
Chapter 12
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
...syndicate has received an interesting message from the Urrasti country of Benbili—a group called the Odonian Society has reached out to the Anarresti, asking to send people to Anarres as settlers.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
One of Bedap’s opponents—a “cool, intelligent” woman named Rulag—asks how the Odonians even propose to get to Anarres. In these meetings, which occur regularly, Rulag opposes the... (full context)
Individualism and Isolation vs. Collectivism and Solidarity Theme Icon
Bedap tells Rulag that “like good Odonians, [the Benbili would] hitchhike on one of the freighters.” Bedap wonders if the archists on... (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
Rulag denounces the Syndicate of Initiative as being against Odonian ideals and says that they are behaving “in the way that archist critics always predicted... (full context)
Freedom 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
...more Anarresti on their side than they realize—perhaps Shevek’s journey to Urras would flush like-minded Odonians out into the open. (full context)
Chapter 13
Freedom Theme Icon
The People vs. the State Theme Icon
...the risk of having been a dissident in his society—it is his privilege as an Odonian to even be able to take the risk. Ketho tells Shevek that he will take... (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
Ketho replies that he is curious about Anarres after reading Odo’s works. After confirming that visiting Anarres is Ketho’s own wish, and that he understands it... (full context)