Themes in "The Left Hand of Darkness"This is a featured page

Gender Concept

First theme in "The Left Hand of Darkness" is the Gender concept.
In the start of the book a big part of the book seems to be a exploration of a altered race and society. In this society there is not two different sex, they are all the same. Even though there is only one sex there is still a lot of love. The book seems to give very little information on only one sex but it mainly focuses more on the politics in the Earth and planets. Also the relationships between the characters are not like normal relationships because the confusion of "does the character have sexual feelings for the other" comes up.


As stated above one of the other main focus was politics, so this is another theme in "The Left Hand of Darkness".
Gethenians in Karhide do have an amplified system of social advantage, in which individuals have alot of movement within the government. The demonetization of others is artificial and temporary; alliances in the book change very easily and they are very protective of the clear defined line separating other nations politics. The nations are still there and have a different society and they end up mixing at the edges. At the edge they are closer related. There is many little battles at the edges but there is no attempt to take control and is just to release anger.
The people are more up front about what they think and are allowed to share more of their thoughts. It is the Karhide government allowing Ai to as an alien from a different planet. That broadcasts news about his arrival on the radio. Estraven behaved that way on politenessand not for his own personal gain. In a country so dominated by one man's thought . Aswell in Orgoreyn the balance of power is often changed. The Orgota are more friendly with Ai, this is because it is neccesary for them to be friendly to strangers, and the Commensals are always in an on going fight between each other. Ai comes into being the leader he is taken away in the night and told he died.


The book contains two different religions called Handdara and Yomeshta (Meshe's Cult). Handdara is reminiscent of Taoism and Zen while Yomeshta is based on absolute knowledge of the entirety of time. Meshe was originally a Foreteller of the Handarra. She gained this absolute knowledge when attemopting to answer the question "What is the meaning of Life?". Handdara is much more ancient and dominates Karhide while Yomeshta is the official religion in Orgoreyn. The eahc have certain political distinctions due to the different countries and its inhabitants and their cultural differences.

Communication and Understanding

Genly is on Gethen to communicate the desire of the Ekumen to invite Gethen to join it. The invitation is because the Ekumen wants to communicate with Gethen -- exchange information, achieve some understanding. Gethen is seventeen light years from the nearest planet of the Ekumen, so most trade would be impractical. The envoy has trouble communicating with the Gethenians, partly because he doesn't understand shifgrethor, nor what their sexual system means, but also because most of the Gethenians don't believe what he says about his mission. He can communicate in real time with the Ekumen, using his ansible. In an attempt to prove that he is, indeed, an envoy from other civilizations, King Argaven asks him to ask his off-planet correspondents what makes a person a traitor. Although the message is received, and answered, Argaven is not satisfied with the answer. During Foretelling, a ritual of answering questions about the future, the Foretellers communicate in a deep and mystical way. Genly tries, with Faxe, the Weaver of the Foretellers, and later with Estraven, to engage in mindspeak, in part because he misses doing so, and in part because it is not possible to lie in mindspeak. He has some success with Estraven. Indeed, when Estraven finally hears Genly's mindspeak for the first time, he is shocked and puzzled that Genly's mindspeak voice is the voice of Estraven's dead sibling. This phenomenon is never explained. In the end, Genly gets what he wants: Gethen will join the Ekumen. The Foretellers were correct as always. However, we are left with the suspicion that Genly got the right answer to the wrong question. Perhaps Genly should have been more concerned about his relationship with Estraven than with the political concerns of the Ekumen.

Latest page update: made by TheFantasticDangler , Jan 7 2010, 5:05 AM EST (about this update About This Update TheFantasticDangler Edited by TheFantasticDangler

296 words added

view changes

- complete history)
Keyword tags: Left Hand of Darkness
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page.  Be the first to start a new thread.