9/26 Class Notes


  • For future reference, notes should be categorized  as Class Notes AND under whatever stories we discuss that day Ex: Today’s notes will be under Class Notes and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
  • OpenLab issues? E-mail Professor Belli to let her know and send a copy of your work as well.
  • “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Give yourself wiggle room to allow for contingencies, it’s encouraged to work on your blogs sooner rather than later.
  • Read and think about short poem (in Schedule)
  • Watch Russian short film
  • No new readings until the end of next week
  • Staring at the end of next week we will begin with Station Eleven, if you are slow reader it is suggested you begin reading soon

Text:  The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

“How much are we willing to overlook for happiness?”

FreewriteWould you walk away from Omelas? 5 Minutes

Key Points from Freewrite Discussion:

  • Happiness
  • What does it mean to walk away from Omelas?
  • Trolley Problem; Utilitarianism

   Utilitarianism – the greatest good for the greatest number

• Consider: What gets elided (glossed over) under Utilitarianism?

  • Take control of our own happiness, life, and destiny
  • Scale over Possibility
  • Leave to another form of control; risk; is what you leave better than where you’re going?
  • “the grass is always greener on the other side” “the known” is certain
  • Settling vs. Seeking; the heart of possibility
  • Pragmatic; we are accepting of our country’s faults, we don’t care, we live in injustice
  • Taking action in Omelas; walking away from Omelas but also walking away from the child

Utopia –  an imaginary perfect place; perfect; peaceful; heaven; ideal; unrealistic; Utopias are usually pejorative

Etymology: Topos (land), Eu (good), Ou (no) → “The good place that is no place” ; Eu and Ou are an Allision

Pejorative – having a bad connotation

Utopian – focused on the ideal of what could be

Generic – adj. of Genre; related to Genre

Coined – create

Eponymous – having the name of something; to be named after

Etymology: Onoma meaning name

Utopia comes from a book titled Utopia written by Sir Thomas More in 1516

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is an earlier work of author Ursula LeGuin, she won the Hugo Award for TOWWAFO.

Hugo Award – yearly sci-fi work award

Parable – short story that teaches a moral lesson; often biblical


Handout: Will be available online soon! While we read texts going forward, this is a guide to to help, if you’re stuck on a blog post and don’t know what to write about you can make a post answering/about the questions

People’s Choice: Daniel



Here’s the world as it is → Here’s what it could be

Is vs. Ought

What is the gap between what the world is and what it could be? → Utopianism

Soma – things people do or take in order to be distracted from reality (ex: Drooz in TOWWAFO)

The idea of the “Other”; the marginalized figure

POV/Narrator in TOWWAFO?

A shift from Our/We to I/They, separating themselves from the people of Omelas

Why do we have to become invested?

Utopias can become quite boring because nothing happens, everything is fine, as opposed to dystopias where everything is not fine.

Complicit – culpable; if you know and do nothing you are complicit

The is another child in Omelas

Juxtaposition between the two children; both children are alone

The child is referred to as an “It” throughout the story; objectification of the child

Objectification – treat something/someone like an object

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *