A period of a few days each month in which Gethenians develop sexual organs and sexual desire. Its opposite is somer, during which time sexuality is latent. Within kemmer are three additional phases: secher, thorharmen, and thokemmer, which track the degree of sexual polarity an individual has reached.
Kemmer Term Timeline in The Left Hand of Darkness
The timeline below shows where the term Kemmer appears in The Left Hand of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...two Zanies, whom Ai diagnoses as schizophrenic; five Celibates, one of whom must be in kemmer for the Foretelling to work; and a Pervert, someone in perpetual kemmer. Although Ai had... (full context)
...presents as totally androgynous, and then for the rest of the days a person enters kemmer. In isolation, or with other people still in somer, sexual intercourse is impossible, however, if... (full context)
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 kemmer-somer cycle,... (full context)
...man among women, or among eunuchs,” as all the prisoners are given drugs that prevent kemmer and depress their emotions. Ai believes long-term prisoners have adapted to their chemical castration, but... (full context)
...speak, and continually ask, “Does he burn?” and then answer themselves, “No.” Eventually, Edondurath enters kemmer, and the corpses shout “He burns! He burns!” Edondurath’s final living brother comes to join... (full context)