| Quote #1
I'm not much taller than the Gethenian norm, but the difference is most noticeable in a crowd. That's him, look, there's the Envoy. Of course that was part of my job, but it was the part that got harder not easier as time went on; more and more often I longed for anonymity, for sameness. (1.20)
We all play the Other at some point in our life: that moment when we represent the opposite of everyone around us. Most of us don't stay in those situations for too long, but poor Ai must live continuously as the Other thanks to his job as the Envoy.
| Quote #2
Brought up in the wide-open, free-wheeling society of Earth, I would never master the protocol, or the impassivity, so valued by Karhiders. (1.67)
Things only get worse. Not only does Ai's otherness separate him from everyone around him, but it's also getting in the way of his mission. Guy just can't win.
| Quote #3
"The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression." (1.77)
Here, war and politics both seem to be based around fear of the Other. The book seems written for its time, since the Vietnam War was going in full force then. Or maybe our time? Huh, is that funny or sad?