False Utopia

A utopia is what everyone dreams of. A world where people are free, are happy, and no worries. The author Ursula Le Guin who created the short novel “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” tells a tale of a place the is a utopia. During the Festival of Summer, the citizens are playing music and dancing in the streets and the people are with their horse (Page 1 paragraph 1). It seems that these people are in a time of peace and happiness, however this is not the case.

The setting of Omelas represents it self as city or town like no other filled with all of its citizens with joy, all but one. There is a small child who does not receive the joy and freedom as everybody else. This child settles or is better mentioned forced to settle in dirty room, a cellar, with no windows and the door is locked. This child is malnourished, naked and scared.  (Page 4 paragraph 4). This child was born defective, different from others with a weak mind and this child doesn’t know why it is being treated less than a proper human being. He is suffering from physical and emotional abuse where the citizens would “come in and kick the child to make it stand up”(page 5 continuing paragraph from page 4). The citizens come to visit the child as if they were going to a zoo and see him as an animal if they are capable to kick a small defenseless child. This child had a healthy mind and wanted to be free since he speaks “I will be good. Please let me out. I will be good!”(page 5 continuing paragraph from page 4).  It is natural for a child to desire to leave such an awful place.

The reason for this child suffer was for the happiness of the citizens of Omelas.  “They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas” (Page 5 Paragraph 1). Before I figured out why the citizens didn’t do anything, I was disgusted to know that the people knew of this child’s existence and did nothing for him because they honestly believed that the happiness of the city of Omelas “depends wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (Page 5 Paragraph 1). They might have a tradition or a religion where they can actually allow something like this to happen. Even the children of the city weren’t happy. They also felt disgust and were outraged (Page 5 paragraph 2). How would you feel if you saw a child just like yourself in such a situation when being explained that it was necessary for the city. Their reactions are reasonable and would go against it.  Sadly they don’t have the power to go against the reason for this child’s eternal nightmare. Nobody agrees with this, “Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the child and faced this terrible paradox”(Page 6 paragraph 1). This shows that the people truly do not agree with this and would want this to end. In the last part, “faced this terrible paradox,” shows it contradicts their utopia life style where everybody is not happy or free.

When reading this novel I was hoping for a beautiful story of happiness but it slapped me in the face as I kept reading. By reading this novel it has made me realize that a utopia is still a dream that may never come true.

3 thoughts on “False Utopia

  1. Kina

    I felt the same way. I Figured, however, something was up the way that the narrator kept saying “joyous” I just knew then that Omelas might not be a true town of joy.

    1. Adrian

      There is no perfect world and it is where people fantasize about. Those who reside in Omelas experience this false happiness while the child experiences real tragedy, pain, and mistreatment. And I totally agree with your conclusion!

  2. Daniel

    “When reading this novel I was hoping for a beautiful story of happiness but it slapped me in the face as I kept reading”.
    We get no joy from this story, no pleasure!. We take away only the conflict of knowing that we like the citizens of Omelas have sold out. Yet we console ourselves thinking that we could not have saved the child. Even if we left Omelas his/her condition would not have improved.


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