Spoiled Children of Divorce

Ursula K. Le Guin
April 23, 2008, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Interesting views about marital relationships discussed here.  From a 2001 interview by Nick Gevers called “Driven By A Different Chauffeur:  An Interview With Ursula K. Le Guin:” 

The O stories — “Mountain Ways” and “Unchosen Love” — are (like the earlier “Another Story”) set in a society divided into two elaborate moieties and practicing a profoundly cumbersome marital system. Would such a four-person hetero- and homo-sexual menage be practical? Or is this “sedoretu” system a thought experiment, a satiric or parodic construct?
Well, writing the stories, I thought of the sedoretu as pure thought-experiment — a highly enjoyable tool for exploring human relations and emotions. I hadn’t exactly thought of it as satirical. We are so good at making life difficult for ourselves, not least by inventing almost impossible customs. Monogamous lifelong heterosexual marriage is such a peculiar institution that it hardly seems to need to be made fun of. But of course if you make marriage even harder than it is, involving four people instead of two, and homosexuality as well as heterosexuality, it gets even more interesting. At least, it does to me. But I find all cumbersome cultural constructs and customs interesting. I am an anthropologist’s daughter, after all.

You ask if the sedoretu would be practical. I don’t know. Is monogamous heterosexual marriage practical? I don’t know. My husband and I have done it for forty-eight years, but that could just be luck, and a bit of practice.


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