Ursula Le Guin. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

In this story I was brought to a perfect town, where all of the residents appear to be happy and prosperous, the weather is perfect, music is great, and life is great. We then find out that there is a catch. In order for this town of so many residents to continue to be perfect in all aspects, one life must be tormented and treated with inhumane cruelty. In this instance it is a young individual who according to the narrator could a boy or a girl around the age of six who is mistreated, fed a single meal and grease, kept in a dark, moist, stinky room in a locked basement. No one is allowed to say anything nice to the child and is never to be set free, but to remain like this for life. All of this to kept society at its best.

Once being open to the truth, most of the people of Omelas are initially surprised and revolted, but are ultimately able to come to terms with the fact and resolve to live their lives in such a way that the suffering of the poor child is worth it. However, “Each goes alone, youth or girl, men or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields” no one knows where they go. The story ends with “The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”

The plot simple consisting of the narrator trying to convince the reader about the true existence of the city of Omelas. The point of view is of a person who lives in an imaginary Utopia who cannot see into the minds of others. The description of the characters is limited. The setting plays a major role in this story as it is what the story is about. The majority of the story tells of the town and the permanent rules that govern it. The tone of the story is joy, guilt, and misery.

As a personal note I can say that after reading the story a few times I was so into it that when my eyes went through the part where the narrator describes the suffering child I felt anguish and I almost felt what that poor kid was going thru.

 

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