The Left Hand of Darkness Quotes


"Though I had been nearly two years on Winter I was still far from being able to see the people of the planet through their own eyes.’’

Chapter 1, Ai

Ai describes the planet he lives on from the perspective of a stranger, a person who was unable to adapt to the customs and to the life on the new and unfamiliar planet. Ai was sent to the capital city named Ehrenrang and it soon became clear that he distinguished himself from every other person on that planet. In comparison with them, Ai had a different physical appearance and his behavior was also different in the sense that Ai could not understand why the people in Ehrenrang enjoyed the things they did. This made Ai feel even more alienated and it made him feel as an alien on a foreign planet.

“why human beings here on earth should want or tolerate any dealings with creatures so monstrously different.”

Chapter 3, the King

When Ai presents his proposal to the King, he tries to make him understand that they are not that different. Ai shows the King different pictures with people from his planet but just like Ai saw the people on the new and strange planet as being peculiar, the King had the same idea about the people on Ai’s planet. The misconceptions both characters had about the people living on the new planets affected their perception and their attitude so much that they became unwilling to cooperate with one another. However, as Ai points out, their ideas were not logical and despite this they still obeyed by them blindly, even though they affected them in a negative way.

“But we in the Handdara don’t want answers. It’s hard to avoid them, but we try to.”

Faxe, chapter 5

In Chapter 5, Ai reaches a community of mystics who are able to tell the future. Ai knows stories about people who went mad after talking with the mystics and after receiving answers that only raised more questions so Ai thinks carefully about what he wants to ask. During his time there, Ai gets to know a man named Faxe who lives in the community and who is the author of the quote from above. Faxe makes Ai understand that while some communities and some people would do anything they can to find the answer to one of their questions, there are also people who would do anything to remain ignorant. This difference is also unconceivable for Ai who searched the truth all his life and who could not conceive a life when he would not be searching for the meaning of life.

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