I find it interesting that the story is titled “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and yet the narrator only talks about them in the final paragraph. Instead, the narrator interests the reader by describing a city that is like a utopia. Everyone there is happy and enjoying themselves. Even the environment is appealing when the narrator says “In the silence of broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets, farther and nearer and ever approaching, a cheerful faint sweetness of the air that from time to time trembled and gathered together and broke out into the great joyous clanging of the bells.” (1)
I suspected things would take a turn for the worse when I read the trumpets sounded all at one and the horses back up and neigh. (4) The fact that the riders had to soothe the horses made me suspect that there is something dark to this “utopia.” Then the following paragraph informs the reader that in the cellar of one of the city’s buildings, there is a small child locked there. The child is kept there because it is believed that in order for the city to prosper, the child must suffer.
Everyone in the city knows about the child and has seen him, since they take the children to him so they can explain it to them. Like anyone would the children would object to this but eventually come to terms with it. It is justified by believing that it is too late to help the child. He would be trapped by fear and “would not get much good of its freedom.” (6)
This brings us back to the title of the story. Sometimes when someone goes to see the child, don’t return home like everyone else. They decide to leave the city and never return. It is unknown where they go but we know that they left the city because the truth was too horrible for them to accept.