The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula Le Guin

An interesting book that first didn’t grab my attention (lots of jargon and names) but which later on proved to be interesting to listen to. Here is my analysis of the story structure.

1. You (situation, comfort)

Genli Ai is the protagonist. She is an ambassador (envoy) from a new planet. This planet is full of people who don’t have a single sex (but can become either once every 28 days). He (although the book is narrated by a woman, so sometimes you forget that, and that might be part of the experience of the book) wants…

2. Need (want something)

… to get the states of the world (Gethen) to join the alliance/federation of planets.

3. Go (new situation)

He talks to the king and is in a place he can’t call home.

4. Search (progress, adapt)

He has to travel the planet and talk to many people. The same goes for his friend (the former prime minister). And Genli learns a lot about how they live and interact. The end is foreshadowed by fore-tellers.

5. Find (no turning back)

After much struggle there is a plan to get the ship to land and the world to join the federation.

6. Take (trouble, pay a price)

But the road there is a long struggle and his friend dies.

7. Return (go back to where it started)

He returns to the capital and finalises his plan.

8. Change (now capable of change)

He is changed by his experience. And the world there is also about to change.