The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness

by

Ursula K. Le Guin

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Investigators Term Analysis

A team of men and women who explore a planet and gather information about it on behalf of the Ekumen. Investigators, who explore secretly, are followed by an Envoy, who announces his or her presence, and sets about trying to convince the governments of new planets to join the Ekumen.

Investigators Quotes in The Left Hand of Darkness

The The Left Hand of Darkness quotes below are all either spoken by Investigators or refer to Investigators. 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 7 Quotes

Consider: Anyone can turn his hand to anything. This sounds very simple, but its psychological effects are incalculable. The fact that everyone between seventeen and thirty-five or so is liable to be…“tied down to childbearing,” implies that no one is quite so thoroughly “tied down” here as women, elsewhere, are likely to be—psychologically or physically. Burden and privilege are shared out pretty equally; everybody has the same risk to run or choice to make. Therefore nobody here is quite so free as a free male anywhere else.
…Consider: There is no unconsenting sex, no rape. As with most mammals other than man, coitus can be performed only by mutual invitation and consent; otherwise it is not possible. Seduction certainly is possible, but it must have to be awfully well timed.
Consider: There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protective/protected, dominant/submissive, owner/chattel, active/passive. In fact the whole tendency to dualism that pervades human thinking may be found to be lessened, or changed, on Winter.

Related Characters: Ong Tot Oppong (speaker), Genly Ai
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

Yet you cannot think of a Gethenian as “it.” They are not neuters. They are potentials or integrals. Lacking the Karhidish “human pronoun” used for persons in somer, I must say “he,” for the same reasons as we use the masculine pronoun in referring to a transcendent god: it is less defined, less specific, than the neuter or the feminine. But the very use of the pronoun in my thoughts leads me continually to forget that the Karhider I am with is not a man, but a manwoman.
The First Mobile, if one is sent, must be warned that unless he is very self-assured, or senile, his pride will suffer. A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indications of regard and appreciation. On Winter they will not exist. One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience.

Related Characters: Ong Tot Oppong (speaker), Genly Ai
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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Investigators Term Timeline in The Left Hand of Darkness

The timeline below shows where the term Investigators appears in The Left Hand of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...and to discover more of the Handdara religion, which was not deeply examined by the Investigators. Ai has heard of the Foretellers of the Handdara, who supposedly can see the future,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sex, Gender, and Behavior Theme Icon
...titled “The Question of Sex,” is from the field notes of Ong Tot Oppong, an Investigator who explored Gethen forty years before Genly Ai began his journey as Envoy. In it,... (full context)
Sex, Gender, and Behavior Theme Icon
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Ong Tot Oppong observes that, as fascinating as the Investigators find kemmering, it “dominates” Gethenians even more. Every aspect of their society revolves around the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Ai resumes his report. He has spent the summer more as an Investigator than a Mobile, gathering information and learning about the culture. He notes that in his... (full context)