The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin is a story about a paradise called Omelas. Now this paradise is pretty much whatever you think it is, the narrator is explaining the story from a omniscient point of view as it dwells in the minds of the inhabitants of Omela and their curse that the residents must live through or leave. I believe the that in the city of “Omelas” one must either face it’s horror and live happy or leave and find peace with themselves in a place that is not paradise. The author really hammers away with describing Omelas. In the story the narrator states ” Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time.”(Guin, 2). This quote to me describes how wonderful Omelas is because that is what a fairy tale is to me, something wonderful. Yet it can also be viewed as how Omelas isn’t real because that is all a fairy tale is, just a make believe story. What makes this more of a fairy tale is how the narrator continues to say so many nice things about Omelas and how he/she wishes to continue making it more of a paradise, so much that it asks “What else, what else belongs in the joyous city?”(Guin, 3). The narrator even told the readers to add an orgy if it helped make it more of a paradise. This to me speaks to the notion that this is a fairy tale.
Though it is a fairy tale the reality of the paradise is very dark. There is a child who is held in a broom closet in the cellar starving and decaying bother mentally and physically. The curse of Omelas is that “their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s misery.”(Guin, 5). The paradise can only exist if the one child suffers in complete misery and the reality is that the residents have to live with the thought of knowing that a child must suffer to make their paradise a possibility, or do they have to live with it at all ?
In the story the narrator explained that people go see this little boy with eyes of hate and disgust. Though they were not eyes of disgust and hate towards the kid but towards Omelas. How could they not hate the fact that a child must suffer for them to be happy, i know i would hate that. At times some of these people do not go home at all. “These people go out into the street. and walk down the street alone. they keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gate.” The narrator never explained why these people never went back home and walked out of the city of Omelas. It can only be inferred and what is inferred is that the people left because the paradise they knew was nothing but a fairy tale. Maybe to these people Omelas was not a paradise for they too, were not free. Perhaps they were not free because they can not freely enjoy this paradise with the thought of this poor child who’s misery is paying for their happiness. Perhaps that is why they left, because this was no fairy tale to them so they must go out and find what makes them happy.