From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness

  

by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness Politics Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"To govern this land is to govern its lords. Not that it's ever done. Do you know the saying, Karhide is not a nation but a family quarrel?" (1.17)

We've never heard that saying, but it seems apt for any political situation. Seriously, have you ever watched C-SPAN? Bickering, bickering, lunch break, and then bickering. (Unless you're a dictatorship, then it's do as daddy says.)

Quote #2

During the pause I began to think that an inept and undefended alien should not demand reasons from the prime minister of a kingdom, above all when he does not and perhaps never will understand the foundations of power and the workings of government in that kingdom. No doubt this was all a matter of shifgrethor. (1.49)

A word to the wise: when dealing with someone else's politics, it's best to actually understand their politics as well as their culture and point of view (in this case, shifgrethor). That goes double for people whose country you're in.

Quote #3

"No, I don't mean love, when I say patriotism." (1.77)

According to Estraven, love and patriotism are not the same thing. Where do you suppose the split comes, and what are the possible dangers of confusing the two? We're leaving this one open for debate.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement