Restorative Justice Scripts in Ursula K. Le Guin's Voices

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This essay examines restorative justice scripting in Voices, the second volume of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Annals of the Western Shore." Narrated by a rape-child, Voices is the story of an occupied city-state and of how the conquered and the conquerors negotiate a formula for peaceful coexistence. They are able to do so by enacting a restorative justice script. Their use of the mediation of an outsider, the wandering poet Orrec, is not unlike the use of trained mediators in victim-offender mediation programmes that operate within the restorative justice paradigm. The steps envisioned by justice scripting in Voices correspond to five general elements of the restorative justice encounter as outlined in Capeheart and Milovanovic's model. Finally, the resolution of the conflict in the novel is centrally concerned with the reintegration of victims and offenders, involving the elements of a successful resolution in the restorative justice paradigm: apology, behavioural change, restitution and generosity. Generalizing from the example of Voices, it is argued that, in their capacity to generate ideas and feelings about justice, works of fantasy and science fiction evoke and provide what Schank calls "scripts," thus inviting readers to consider justice imperatives in the real world by means of the cognitive scripting of acts in the fictional worlds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Annals of the Western Shore
  • Fantasy
  • Retributive justice
  • Scripts


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