The Left Hand of Darkness – Second Discussion

This is the second discussion for The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. We’re covering Chapters 6-10.

Guide questions/talking points:

  1. Aside from the folktale chapters we’ve only seen the novel through Genly’s eyes. What did you think of the Estraven POV and the Investigator accounts?
  2. The Gethen sexuality chapter – a lot to unpack here. What do you make of the fact that the Gethenian people were a result of an experiment? What about bisexuality seemingly being the default on Hain?
  3. Karhide seems to be one of the more rural nations on Gethen. Why did Genly choose to start his mission there? What is the purpose of the stark differences between Karhide and Orgoreyn? The concept of “shifgrethor” was given a lot of importance in the first few chapters, but it turns out other nations on Karhide don’t take it as seriously as Karhide does.

Please put anything that happens after Chapter 10 in spoiler tags.

The next discussion will be on the first Thursday of 2018 (January 4). Should we move it to a later date? Do you want to cover Chapters 11-15 or have the book completed by then?

(Note: This is a scheduled post. Tag me or a mod if I made an error or if you want to add more questions to the post. I confess that I only read until Chapter 8 because I’m terrible procrastinator so there may be really big talking points that I missed. I don’t mind the mods editing the post, since I won’t be around till a few hours after it goes up.)