Sunday, September 4, 2011

LHoD -- darkness and shadows

More on darkness and shadows from Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.

SPOILERS

"It was blind dark outside[...]" (212)

When Genly and Therem are in the tent, and it's night outside. And the darkness is being described as blinding.

"Estraven gave me his brief dark stare and said, 'We need protein'" (215).

Again, Estraven being described as dark.

"A darkness loured all day in the west even under the rainclouds. From time to time all things, clouds, icy rain, ice, air, would turn a dull red, then fade slowly back to gray" (225).


Not sure what to make of this.

"The Snow of Ignorance remains untrodden" (225).

 Snow is being used to represent ignorance...so have I been wrong in what I've written before, and snow is actually supposed to represent the darkness? Or is Therem acknowledging that too much light/knowledge is also blinding, and therefore leads a person to ignorance?

"Worms of fire crawl down its black sides [...]" (226).

On the volcano we see light and dark playing together.

"It was dark all day, [. . . .] Dark as late twilight all day" (228-9).

Their journey over the ice seems to have been pretty dark, at least while they were around the volcano.

"A steady wind blows along at ground level from the northeast, clearing this higher air of the soot and stink of the planet's bowels which we have breathed for days, flattening out the smoke behind us to cover, like a dark lid, the glaciers, the lower mountains, the valleys of stones, the rest of the earth. Tehre is nothing, the Ice says, but Ice. -- But the young volcano there to northward has another word it thinks of saying" (231).

Underlining is my doing.

Here we see a sort of competition between the light and the dark. And the volcano, even though it spews bright lava, also covers things in darkness. So, it keeps the balance between the light and the dark?

Page 239 

Must examine this in one post

"Sometimes as I am falling asleep in a dark, quiet room I have fro a moment a great and treasurable illusion of the past. The wall of a tent leans up over my face, not visible but audible, a slanting plane of faint sound: the susurrus of blown snow. Nothing can be seen. The light-emission of the Chabe stove is cut off, and it exists only as a sphere of heat, a heart of warmth" (240).

Memories of darkness that are "treasurable" to Genly.

"[...] and turned the light-emission off. As he did so he murmured a short and charming grace of invocation, the only ritual words I have ever learned of hte Handdara: 'Praise then darkness and Creation unfinished,' he said, and there was darkness" (246).

Not sure what to say about this...

"Shifgrethor? It comes from an old word for shadow" (247).

So, shifgrethor is connected to shadows, and therefore to understand it I have to do all this. :)

"I told him to clear his mind, let it be dark. This he did, no doubt, more promptly and thoroughly than I ever had done: he was an adept of the Handdara, after all" (250).

Darkness is being equated with blankness.

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