The Left Hand of Darkness

this was meant to be a respone...

...This was meant to be a response to the long thread of comments on the entry titled, "The extension of human masculinity," but it became this:

It's interesting to watch people get so riled up about gender in class. I understand that some people believe it's a social construct and that stereotypes are evil, etc. etc., but I think that this belief in gender and the stereotypes attached to each one is so deeply ingrained, that there's no point in arguing aimlessly about it.

language and meaning in the left hand of darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness may be about gender, and it may be about weather, but it's also very clearly about the schism between words and real world referents.

To oppose is to maintain, and blue eyes

The issues of duality, competition, war, and progress bring to mind the Jane Elliott "blue eyes" classroom study. That link is knowledgeable, but not the most approachable, so let me summarize. In order to teach a lesson on discrimination to a homogenous Iowa elementary school classroom, she began an experiment where she declared children with blue eyes 'better' than the others.

Gender Pronouns in The Left Hand of Darkness

Throughout her novel, Ursula LeGuin mainly uses the masculine set of pronouns, he and him. This seems strange for a novel set on winter, an androgyne world. Why did LeGuin not create her own set of gender pronouns for use in the novel? Couldn't the use of such words lessen the bias that the reader had to a specific gender? LeGuin had many reasons for her choice of pronouns, and use of he as the main pronoun helps rather than hurts the book.

Being Other in the Other's eyes

There is a fascinating interplay between light and dark, and the role of shadows in "The Left Hand of Darkness." Perhaps most interesting is the concept of shifgrethor, a code of honor amongst the Karhidians, which "comes from an old word for shadow" (247). There is also, among the Handdarata, a focus on the "un"--that which seems to be the opposite of what is. In many respects, the Karhidians seem to be defined more by what they are not, by what is unseen, and by what traditionally is thought to obscure.

So much to think about when ur stuck in the ice...

I'm still interested in what happens in this novel in terms of race, and the representation of racial issues in the future. We might of tried to touch on it in class, but the overwhelming struggle over the meaning and the philosophy of gender in society was definitely something that took over. It clearly has for almost all readers of the novel, down to the feminist writers who proclaimed that Le Guin's use of the male pronoun was the number one most anti-feminist act of all time.

Weather Versus Ambisexuality in The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula Le Guin, though she makes a big fuss out of the "thought-experimental" nature of her novel, and explicitly says that she's not trying to make a political statement such as "we damned well ought to be androgynous" - but even so, she seems to intentionally pad levels of ambiguity -- maybe even excuses, plausible deniability -- into any possible "message" of her novel.

Ekumen and Religion?

Warning: I am feverish and have induced a headache from a superfluous amount of coughing, so I apologize if this entry is kind of wonky.

Left Hand of Darkness Response

One of the things that was touched on in class recently was the way in which Genly Ai often characterized the ways the Gethenieas acted around him. Particularly interesting to me were the ways that appeared derogatory towards woman, and what this conveys about him and the 'Ekumenical' society he comes from.


I'll pass on this reading response. I guess "The Left Hand of Darkness" just doesn't strike my fancy. It could also be lack of sleep. I KNOW I'll have something to say about "Lilith's Brood," so it's OK.


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