YIN-YANG DUALISM IN GETHENIAN BIOLOGY AND POLITICS IN URSULA K. LE GUIN’S THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS
Ursula K. Le Guin’s relationship with Daoism is one of the most widely known, but at the same time least researched, aspects of her work. In her SF classic The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin takes dualism as her central theme, and the view of dualism expressed here is firmly grounded in Daoist philosophy and its theory of the dynamics of yin and yang. In order to shed
light on this influence, the paper analyzes two aspects of dualism in the novel: the specific physiology of the people and the political balance of power on planet Gethen. The dynamic androgyny of the Gethenian race is examined as a fictional transposition of the mixing of yin and yang characteristic of Daoist internal alchemy. At the level of society, duality finds expression in the organization of and interaction patterns between Karhide and Orgoreyn, two Gethenian countries founded on the principle of yin and yang respectively. The analysis of biological and socio-political dynamics on Gethen thus provides an insight into the specificities of Le Guin’s understanding of duality and reveals its deep Daoist roots.