Tag Archives: Reality

The Left Hand of Darkness: Blurring the lines of dream and reality

“It was a particularly bad dream, the kind in which you run down a strange street in the dark with a lot of people who have no faces, while houses go up in flames behind you, and children scream.
I ended up in an open field, standing in dry stubble by a black hedge. The dull-red halfmoon and some stars showed through clouds overhead. The wind was bitter cold. Near me a big barn or granary bulked up in the dark, and in the distance beyond it I saw little volleys of sparks going up on the wind.” (p.110)

Ai’s use of language suggests the whole war-torn refugee sequence to be an unreal dream. It is only in the narrator never telling of waking up and the intricate level of detail that the reader understands his account to be a real-life continuation of the narrative. This blurring of reality and dream is indicative of Ai’s own unstable consciousness in having been abruptly and confusedly awoken. Such incidents question the reliability of our narrator, but the language validates Ai’s self-proposal of his account being story-like as opposed to factual.

Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace Books, 1969. Print.