Ursula K. Le Guin, "She Unnames Them"


1. In Genesis, along with dominion over all living things God grants Adam the power to name: "So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name" (Genesis 2:19). What is the relationship between these two prerogatives (dominion and naming)?

2. Once all the animals are unnamed, Eve tells us that "they seemed far closer than when their names had stood between myself and them like a clear barrier: so close that my fear of them and their fear of me became one same fear." In what way would their names have been "a clear barrier"? What does she mean when she says that "the hunter could not be told from the hunted, nor the eater from the food"? What differentiated them before?

3. In Genesis 3:20, Adam names Eve. How do we know that the "she" of "She Unnames Them" is Eve? Why isn’t she explicitly named in the story? Why does she say, as she returns her name to him, that "it doesn’t exactly seem to fit very well lately"?

"Schrödinger’s Cat"