The Left Hand of Darkness Literary Elements

The Left Hand of Darkness Literary Elements


A science fiction novel

Setting and Context

The actions take place on Gethen, a freezing alien planet in Karhide and Orgoreyn cities.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is recounted by a first person. The central narrator is Genly Ai.

Tone and Mood

The tone is hopeful. Also thanks to the author’s fantasy, it sometimes has a snarky and playful mood.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The main protagonist is Genly Ai. The main antagonist is a king of Karhide - Argaven.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is the union of many planets, which causes the misunderstanding between them.


The climax is a war between Karhide and Orgoreyn.


This story predicts the further life of the king Argaven. In the beginning, he is a ruler, who doesn’t care about his country. And his indifference predicts that his people will not respect him.




The author alludes to the Earth as a globe.


Imagery devices are very efficient in describing nature and landscapes as the background of the story


The fantastical events of this novel have paradoxical features. For example, inhabitants of this planet don’t have a masculine or a feminine gender. They only turn into a man or a woman, when partners find each other.


We can observe the parallelism, when the author describes our world and Gethen planet. She gives a description of our culture, technology and language, comparing it to Gethen’s

Metonymy and Synecdoche



Intensely cold weather personifies a murderer, who kills the victim slowly. When main characters cross the ice plateau, this cold prevents them to do it and harms their health.

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