Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Kalenda Eaton

Second Advisor

Michelle Reale


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.