Short essay – Ursula K. Le Guin

I decided to publish my short essays on the readings from the Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World course syllabus. The course started on the 1st of June and finished on the 14th of August. The essays were supposed to be around 270-320 words a piece. Today, I publish the essay that I wrote after reading Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Left Hand of Darkness.

* These are my views and interpretations only


It’s no wonder that Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness is cited having a very strong impact on the science fiction genre. It was Le Guin’s chance to truly explore the idea of a sexless and genderless society, something that had never been done like that before.

Even now, in 2014, her ideas about an ambisexual society, where people are neither man nor woman, and yet both, are thought-provoking. Because here – on Earth –  our sex is in a way the cornerstone of our being, of our sense of self. And with having an assigned sex comes the concept of gender roles which are also so very important in our lives. Whether we conform to them, or rebel against them; gender roles will always play a part in our lives.

But in an ambisexual society, there is no sense of sex and therefore there are no gender roles. There is no issue with the sex of the people one might love like there is in our society (in fact, they take this to the extreme as they condone incest). How would we, now in 2014 and in the future, define ourselves if there was no difference in sex?  People define themselves by comparing themselves to others, and in a way we also do that by comparing ourselves to people of the other sex, but how will this be accomplished when there is no real distinction of the sexes? When there is no difference?

Perhaps Le Guin’s idea of a sexless and genderless society is a vision of the future that might come to life: perhaps we can one day live without noticing the differences between the sexes and instead focus on the traits of the individual without preconceived notions. Surely, we would have a long struggle ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impossibility. After all, look at everything  humans have achieved so far.


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