Commentary on 'the Left Hand of Darkness'

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This prose extract is from the book ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ by Ursula Le Guin, 1969. The overall context of the piece follows the narrator’s perspective of a parade, in which the King and his people participate in. The author works through ambiguity, as there is uncertainty of the meaning or intention in this extract. The mood of the piece is somewhat reflective, a recollection of events, as the piece is in past tense. As the extract is prose fiction, the speaker is analogous to the narrator. The syntax of the piece changes throughout the text; long and meaningless lines, then short and to the point. This commentary essay will discuss visual imagery, figurative language and the impact upon the reader. Le Guin's use of visual imagery enhances the reader's interaction with the extract and serves to help better the reader's' understanding of what is occurring in the piece. For example, in the first 4-5 lines of the extract, two key words catch the reader’s attention due to its repetitive nature in the text. The repetition of the words “dark” and “rain” are apparent to the reader, as they set the mood, and scene of the play. The reader can now visualize a gloomy and cold setting. As the reader continues, the reader notices the emphasis on the “polished spheres of gold” being thrown in the air and caught by jugglers. The contrast between the dark and gloomy setting and the bright and cheerful lights helps the reader visualize the scene quite clearly, and almost modifies their perception of the mood and scene of the play. The idea of happiness is reinforced when the reader understands that the author has described the spheres as “the sun breaking through”. This reinforces the idea that the sun being yellow, and warm, helps lighten the primarily gloomy setting to the play. As the reader continues, it becomes apparent that the royal party, and other significant figures such as the king, wear the specific colour of yellow. The reader then realizes that the general...
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