The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness


Ursula K. Le Guin

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Left Hand of Darkness can help.

Fastness Term Analysis

A Handdarata religious retreat. Sometimes Foretellers all live here together, and sometimes they simply gather when it is time to answer a question.

Fastness Quotes in The Left Hand of Darkness

The The Left Hand of Darkness quotes below are all either spoken by Fastness or refer to Fastness. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ace Books edition of The Left Hand of Darkness published in 1987.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“But we in the Handdara don’t want answers. It’s hard to avoid them, but we try to.”
“Faxe, I don’t think I understand.”
“Well, we come here to the Fastness mostly to learn what questions not to ask.”
“But you’re the Answerers!”
“You don’t see yet, Genry, why we perfected and practice Foretelling?”

“To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question.”

Related Characters: Genly Ai (speaker), Faxe (speaker)
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

“The unknown,” said Faxe’s soft voice in the forest, the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. No Handdara, no Yomes, no hearthgods, nothing. But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion…. Tell me, Genry, what is known? What is sure, predictable, inevitable—the one certain thing you know concerning your future, and mine?”

Related Characters: Faxe (speaker), Genly Ai
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Left Hand of Darkness LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Left Hand of Darkness PDF

Fastness Term Timeline in The Left Hand of Darkness

The timeline below shows where the term Fastness appears in The Left Hand of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
...but he marvels at the mountain ranges, and at a tower that functions as a Fastness and is accessible only in the summer. After reaching the summit of the mountain range,... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
Ai hopes to find a Fastness, and to discover more of the Handdara religion, which was not deeply examined by the... (full context)