Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Left Hand of Darkness: Gethenian Society Essay -- Ursula K. Le Gui

The Left Hand of Darkness: Gethenian Society Upon finishing the novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin, what stands out the most in my mind is the strange and complex Gethenian society. There are many aspects, some of which we are accustomed to, and others we would never consider a part of our society. There are things we have never heard of, like kemmer and shifgrethor. As well things every society should have like politics and human interaction. Politics are an important part of the Gethenian society. The political structure varies from country to country, the main two countries being Erhenrang and Orgoreyn. Erhenrang has one supreme ruler, King Argaven, and the equivalent of a prime minister, whereas Orgoreyn, is ruled by a group of thirty-three commensals. Both political structures seem to only have a loose authority over their various domains, and both are concerned with what the other is doing, but neither one wants to be overshadowed. They are aware of what is going on in the opposite government, but only release to the public what they want to have known. That is, whatever makes them look better and the other look much worse. The truth is very hard to come by in these political institutions. Gethenians are not an aggressive people. Violence is not a large problem in the Gethenian society. Violent crime is virtually nonexistent, and is never talked about. However when a crime does occur, usually treason, the perpetrator is sentenced to exile if they live in Erhenrang, or can be sent to a voluntary farm if they are from Orgoreyn. Once exiled, the individual has a certain amount of time to get out of the country or they can and will be killed. Furthermore, anyone who aids them by giving them money, g... ...e is considered lesser or even more qualified for one thing. Every person is considered equal. There is however still a hierarchy of money and power. The people who have greater wealth are usually government officials and people close to the king. Otherwise, everyone shares what they have. A Gethenian would take you in a give you all they have to give, no questions asked. These are the main aspects of Gethenian society as I see them. It seems to me similar to ours; some parts better, some parts worse. It is hard for me to imagine a world where there is no division of stronger and weaker sex as it is still so dominant in our society. It would have an overwhelming effect on everything, which Le Guin shows through her explication of the Gethenian society. Works Cited 1. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1969.

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