Beyond Gender: Exploring Ursula K. Le Guin’s Thought Experiment in The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness has been used to progress the discourse on gender and sexuality since its publication over fifty years ago. Many critical responses to the novel center on these topics despite their function as a veil to Le Guin’s original intention. Gender and sexuality are barriers the reader must push beyond to fully understand the novel’s triumph. There is no doubt that this book raises questions and makes us rethink our preconceptions about gender and sexuality, and this confirms one success of Le Guin’s thought experiment, but the primary intention was to go beyond gender and sexuality to reveal a human characteristic. Continue reading