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Midterm Question Pool

  1. Both *Left Hand of Darkness* and *North Wind* focus on the idea of mindspeech or telepathy. What is the connection between mindspeech/telepathy and regular speech in each novel? How does mindspeech/telepathy affect the relationships of the main characters in each novel?
  2. Transformation is a major theme in the novels we've read this semester. Compare and contrast the changes undergone by any TWO of the following characters:

    • Lilith from *Dawn*
    • Moira from *The Handmaid's Tale*
    • Bella from *North Wind*
    • Deirdre from *No Woman Born*

  3. *Left Hand of Darkness*, *Dawn*, and *North Wind* all have primary characters who are asexual or ambisexual. How do these alternately gendered Others relate to characters who are of a more strictly defined gender? (Be sure to consider the feelings and actions not only of the characters who are asexual or ambisexual, but also those who are of a more strictly defined gender).
  4. In "Bloodchild", *Dawn*, and *North Wind*, we get three different portrayals of loving sexual relationships between humans and aliens. According to these three novels, what are the dangers of loving the Sexual Other? What are the joys?
  5. All three of the alien life forms we've encountered this semester try to control and manipulate human beings to their own ends. Describe the ways in which the Gethenians, the Oankali, and the Aleutians attempt to use human beings, then determine which aliens are ultimately the greatest threat to humanity as a whole.
  6. Much of the work we've read this semester concerns itself with imbalances of power and with those who struggle against such imbalances. In many cases, this takes the form of a single individual or a small group of individuals actively resisting the control of a larger society. What are the strategies of resistance used in *Left Hand of Darkness*? *The Handmaid's Tale*? *Dawn*? How successful are those strategies in changing the status quo?
  7. In her essay, "American SF and the Other", Ursula LeGuin names and describes four types of Otherness. Name and describe those four types of Otherness, then find one example of each type in the reading we've done so far this semester. Be sure to explain why your examples work as illustrations of a particular type of Otherness. Be sure you have four DIFFERENT examples (i.e. Don't use a single character as a representative of multiple types of Otherness).
  8. In her essay, "The New Aliens of Science Fiction", Nicola Griffith says, "American and British science fiction reflects American and British culture. At any given moment, if we want to know which particular group of people is disturbing the rest of society, all we have to do is take a look at the kind of alien with which the genre is currently preoccupied."

    In a broader sense, Griffith is saying that Science Fiction can be a metaphorical reflection of the present state of a culture. What American cultural tensions are metaphorically dramatized in *The Handmaid's Tale*? In *Dawn*? In "No Woman Born"?
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