i have to take a moment to fangirl: LeGuin is masterly. in Chapter 6, One Way into Orgoreyn, she has managed to shift me from an Estraven-skeptic to an Estraven believer. the subtle changes in language, cadence, and diction separate us from the narrative voice of Genly Ai, but not such a shift that it takes us out of the cohesive voice of the novel as a whole. that is not an easy feat.
the conversation at the close of the chapter among the noblemen of Orgoreyn and Estraven is delightful to read, like a fantastic episode of circa-1992 Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, all wit and metaphors (astronomy, sledge-pulling) that build up without letting you down.
the heart of their conversation is the imminent change their nations will endure:
Our border now is no line between two hills, but the line our planet makes in circling the Sun.”
ah, me, ah, my. the horizon has expanded: the little world is so much bigger. i’m remembering a story, probably one from L.M. Montgomery, about a child who one day makes it to the top of A Great Hill near his home, and suddenly realizes how big the world is, how much bigger than his little farmstead.
Genly is an alien, but human like Estraven, Yegey, and Obsle. different, but connected. i am brooding on this issue now, of “separation” as the dominant (Cartesian) narrative of my world, and my first unwavering convictions of connectedness of all beings. “I’m in the milk and the milk’s in me” (Maurice Sendak, In the Night Kitchen). by Meshe’s milk, indeed… we humans produce various liquids, but it’s milk that is the sweetest.