21655Re: [mythsoc] Re: Are Hobbits white?
- Dec 9, 2010
On 12/9/2010 2:09 AM, John Rateliff wrote:
> I wish Le Guin had made this clearer in the original book, and then
> re-inforced it in the later ones. As it is, it's v. easy to miss that
> she means more than darkish Caucasian -- as evidenced by the fact
> that most of her readers DO miss it. She had a similar problem in
> THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS where she wrote scenes in which she
> pictured one character as female but, since she throughout describes
> that character as "he", readers take her at her word and picture him
> as male. I think sometimes her internal visualization is so strong
> that she forgets to convey it all to the reader.
I think that sometimes the reader has to have his or her feet held to
the fire (regardless of risk to whatever hair might be there). Someone
who misses the sexual context in "The Left Hand of Darkness", in which
an alien race is completely human except it has only one gender -- after
being beat about the head with it in the first sentence, it is the
*point* of the book -- is primarily at fault, not the author. And that
may be one of the lessons to be learned from this extraordinary novel.
In some ways it doesn't even make sense to say "scenes in which she
pictured one character as female" -- only that at that time the
character was in a role that for non-fictional humans is female. Yet
gender is a fundamental aspect of humanity, and language reflects that.
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