Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
English; College of Arts & Sciences
Deconstruction questions the very meaning of words put into an assigned use. Yet how can we imply meaning unto words that do not exist in our language? To have a word for an intended use is to have an implied concept behind it, and where there is no concept there can be no word. Consequently, to construct a concept outside of the realm of human and earthly possibility is to create something outside of the limits of the human language. Concerning gender, to imagine a third or a singular gender is to be unable to describe such a concept without the use of binary gender language. For what other language could be use to describe a non-existent concept? In this work, I will explore the implications of Ursula K Leguin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and its representation of the body outside of a binary gender system. In particular, the novel’s representation of androgyny as a male default with occasional female characteristics and how this defines the female as “an other” rather than as an equal in gender. Rather, how the novel’s early attempt at non-binary gender failed due to the inability of the text to not apply the expectations of the binary gender.
Stephenson, Kayla, "One’s a Crowd: Gendered Language in Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness" (2016). Senior Capstone Theses. 25.