The Left Hand Of Darkness By Ursula Le Guin Essay

1656 Words Feb 8th, 2015 7 Pages
The Effects of a Non-Binary Gender What would our world be like if gender was described as non-binary, with no male or female separation? The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin questions the ways in which society constructs gender. The novel constitutes feminist science fiction because it generates an examination of the effects of binary notions of gender on society’s thinking and structure. The novel explores how the elimination of binary gender has the ability to allow readers to see Gethenians as they are instead of projecting gender constructs onto them and in turn applying that type of thinking to our society.
Le Guin parallels modern patriarchal society by presenting a narrow-minded main character and shows how limiting such thinking can be. The novel begins with Genly Ai who has a strictly binary notion of gender because of the patriarchal culture he comes from and refers to gender with limited, restrictive, and sexist language. Regarding Estraven, Ai says that his “efforts took the form of self-consciously seeing a Gethenian first as a man, then as a woman, forcing him into those categories so irrelevant to his nature and so essential to my own” (Le Guin, 12). Even though Estraven is aware that he should not value the difference between men and women in Gethen, that type of thinking is so ingrained in him by the society he is from that it comes as second-nature to him; he cannot control his narrow-minded perceptions and at this point he does not intend to. Ai…

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