42 pages 1 hour read

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1969

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Chapters 6-10

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 6 Summary: “One Way into Orgoreyn”

On the morning of his officially declared exile, Estraven hurriedly makes plans for passage out of Karhide. He has a three-day grace period to leave Karhide, but anyone doing business with him could be subject to prosecution. Failure to leave within three days means death. As such, Estraven must abandon his property and leave through difficult, unofficial means. Even displays of kindness are punishable; Estraven’s cook leaves a three-day supply of food, and then quits. Estraven sees his long-term kemmering, Ashe, on the street. Ashe begs to go into exile with Estraven, but the former prime minister refuses to put Ashe in peril.

At the port, Estraven’s worst fear is realized. The common people there recognize him and turn their backs. He considers bribery, theft, and violence as options for getting out of Karhide. Finding an unoccupied rowboat, he begins to row away from the dock in a panic but is hit by a nonlethal sonic gun by onshore authorities. Estraven continues to row despite the weakness induced by the hit, but a harbor patrol ship quickly picks him up. To the exile’s surprise, however, the captain of the patrol ship takes him to the nearest Orgoreyn dock. Estraven stumbles a few feet from the dock and faints.

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