Literature Study GuidesThe Left Hand Of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness | Study Guide

Ursula K. Le Guin

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Left Hand of Darkness Study Guide." Course Hero. 5 Nov. 2018. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, November 5). The Left Hand of Darkness Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "The Left Hand of Darkness Study Guide." November 5, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Left Hand of Darkness Study Guide," November 5, 2018, accessed December 13, 2018,



Ursula K. Le Guin

Year Published





Science Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

The Left Hand of Darkness is written primarily from a first-person perspective. Ai, the main character, narrates most of the story, alternating at times with narration by others. A few chapters are told from a third-person perspective.


The main character tells the story in the past tense. However, clues about the tense become fewer as the story progresses, making the reader feel as if the events are taking place in the present.

About the Title

The title refers to a poem Le Guin composed for this novel and includes near the end. The quoted lines are, "Light is the left hand of darkness and darkness the right hand of light." The six-line poem conveys the theme of balance through the unity of interdependent and complementary opposites, such as darkness and light.


This study guide for Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Left Hand of Darkness? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!