The Left Hand of Darkness Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Before leaving his homeland, what does Getheren do?

2. Shortly after his arrival in Orgoreyn, Genly is invited to lunch with Commensals Obsle and Yegey. What information does Genly divulge to his hosts during this luncheon?

3. What is the mortar the king applies to the Arch's keystone made of?

4. What takes place between Estraven II and Therem of Stok?

5. What is the period of time during which a Gethenian is sexually active called?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Genly's impression of Orgoreyn?

2. What is the Thangering Fastness?

3. Why is the Shath Domain, Getheren's homeland, experiencing poverty and widespread illness near the end of Chapter 2?

4. As the ice melts and runs into the mouths of sleepers, what substance does it become?

5. Who is really in control of Orgoreyn? Is it the Commensals and the Thirty-Three? How does this bode for Genly?

6. What communicates the imagery of facade and veneer in Chapter 10?

7. Why does darkness follow each child born to Edondurath and his partner?

8. Why does Estraven enter dothe after he arrives at the farm where Genly is being held?

9. Why does Estraven try to escape Kuseben, and why is he safe once aboard the harbor patrol ship?

10. In Chapter 5, Genly frets about the slowness of the boats and complains about how long his mission is taking. Why do you think Genly is so impatient throughout Chapter 5?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Think back on the various dichotomies presented in "The Left Hand of Darkness," such as Gethenian's dual sexuality; the coldness of the landscape vs. the warmth of Genly and Estraven's tent; betrayal and love, etc. How do these tie into the theme of light and darkness, and how do they tie into the title of the book, which is part of a Gethenian poem that states light is the left hand of darkness and darkness is the right hand of light? Additionally, what is the poem just quoted trying to say? What does it mean for light to be the left hand of darkness and darkness the right hand of light?

Essay Topic 2

How does Estraven continue to work to help Genly see the truth of what he is telling him, as well as to convince Genly that Estraven is on his side? Back your statements up with excerpts from the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Chapter 7 helps us see that Genly's pride is making development of a relationship and negotiations with the Gethenians difficult. Please explain, in your own words, how his pride is hurting his efforts. Use examples from previous chapters to support your statements.

(see the answer keys)

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