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. If a Gethenian becomes pregnant, how long is the gestation period (i.e., the amount of time it takes before the baby is born)?

2. Where does Estraven find employment in his new home?

3. What does Genly learn during his lunch with the local politicians?

4. What answer (in part) does the king receive?

5. When does the story in Chapter 2 take place?

Short Essay Questions

1. With what does this story say that Lord Berosty is obsessed with?

2. 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?

3. What theme is brought out in Chapter 11, and how is it brought out?

4. Why does the First Ekumen send only one representative (Genly) to King Argaven to conduct negotiations with him on its behalf?

5. How does Chapter 7 tie into Genly's story?

6. Why is it wise for Estraven to obtain his hunter's license and learn how to hunt while en route to the farm where Genly is imprisoned?

7. Why, in Chapter 15, are Genly and Estraven still calling each other by their last names (respectively, Ai and Therem)?

8. What does Commissioner Shusgis do that is so surprising to Genly? Why does it surprise him?

9. In chapter 16, why does Estraven ignore Genly while he is in kemmer?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of Chapter 18, which bears strong themes of isolation, revolves around Genly and Estraven in their tent. Please explain whether or not you believe the tent is an illustration of, or a haven from, the isolation and why. Use passages from the novel (not just Chapter 18) to back up your statements.

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 6, we realize that Estraven is on Genly's side and is trying to advocate for him. This contradicts what the king told Genly during his meeting with him in Chapter 3, which was that Estraven had been counseling the king against cooperating with Genly. Please compare and contrast, using examples from the book, what King Argaven told Genly during his meeting about Estraven, as well as what Estraven told Genly in Chapter 1 about no longer being able to help him, with what Estraven has actually been doing to help Genly. As we know, sometimes words and actions don't always match up. Additionally, explain why you believe Estraven continued to help Genly even though he told Genly he could not do so.

Essay Topic 3

Explain how the different viewpoints concerning good and evil expressed by the Orgota religion, Yomesh, and the Karhidish religion, Handdara, affect how each country treats Genly Ai, at least on the surface.

(see the answer keys)

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