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The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness


Ursula K. Le Guin

 Table of Contents

The Left Hand of Darkness Themes

The Left Hand of Darkness Themes

Language and Communication

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 t...


The natives of the planet Gethen are androgynous, neither male nor female while also being both at the same time. This aspect of their biology has put its mark on every aspect of their society, fro...


Oh, good. If there's one thing we love at Shmoop, it's discussing politics. Thankfully, The Left Hand of Darkness isn't too concerned with promoting one type of politics over another in a "Communis...


Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, especially on Gethen, where they never had one. But they do have religion, and a bit of turmoil to go with it. The Left Hand of Darkness's two religions, Han...


We often see duty and betrayal going hand in hand. If someone performs his duty, he's a person worthy of respect and admiration. But to not perform your duty is an act of betrayal, whether it's to...

The Other

In psychology, the Other helps us define ourselves. We see other people walking about, and by picking out the things that are different between them and us, we create a more solid picture of who we...

Man and the Natural World

The Gethenians have a heck of a nature to contend with. If you can imagine Siberia in the middle of February, then you can imagine the Gethen equivalent of beachfront Malibu property. Seriously col...


There has never been a war on Gethen. Seriously, not one. Oh sure, they have raids, murders, assassinations, and bar fights here and there, but war? They don't even have a word for it. The reason w...


Love is a tricky issue in The Left Hand of Darkness. It isn't mentioned often in the text itself, but it kind of serves as thematic glue for the entire novel. Love of others, love of one's self, lo...

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