Can't we all just get along? Maybe if we could actually talk to each other, we could. In The Left Hand of Darkness, Ai's task is communication. He needs to open communications with the Gethenians to get them to join the Ekumen. Thing is, he doesn't have the language skills to communicate his goal. He knows the language, he understands the words, but the meaning of the words in relation to the culture is lost on him. Like he's using a Hungarian dictionary or something. Ai's quest becomes one of discovering the relationship between language and culture. Only then can he complete his mission and get paid. He does get paid for all this, right?
Although Gethenian androgyny has drawn critics' attention, Le Guin was most interested in considering the use of language in society.
Faxe is The Left Hand of Darkness's language expert. His use of language surpasses cultural boundaries.