Left Hand of Darkness – Chapter 5

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This is going to be a short and sweet comment on Chapter 5 left hand of darkness.

It begins with a story, a personal story of Genry, and his conversation with is landlord.

At first I had no idea what was happening and then I realized oh Genry is telling a story.

It foreshadows some developments about religion that we learn about later in the chapter.

Genry is travelling. He is going to gather information on foretelling. The ekumen know many things, they can communicate with their minds, but they cannot tell the future. However here we learn how foretelling works. It appears to be powered by sex and insanity. People who are celibate are seated next to people that are called ‘perverts’ – they have one gender. This exacerbates the sexual tension. There is electricity in the air, brains are broken, an answer is found to the question.

Gendry asks – why do are you a Foreteller to the foreteller (foreteller is someone that reads into the future)…

It is to learn what are the meaningless questions.

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