Once Upon A Time

What a wonderful place Omelas would be to live in, right? Positivity all around. Every corner you turn into all you see is people enjoying their lives. Not a worry in the world, just pure happiness. But is this happiness really pure? Did the people of Omelas really find the secret to eternal happiness or is it some sort of facade?

The people of Omelas lived each day as if it were their last. There seemed to be no government here. Everyone did as they pleased. “Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.” (Guin, page 2.) They were not naive, but rather mature. The happiness that surrounded everyone’s life here was an understood happiness. “The victory they celebrate is that of life.” (Guin, page 3) ¬†What better a reason to be happy than enjoying another day, a new day full of new adventures. These people lived without regrets.

How can it be that every single person in this city was happy? The reason behind their happiness was all because of this one child who has been locked away in a room. “It has one locked door, and no window.” (Guin, page 4.) This child was locked away as if it was a animal. People come to see the child. “One of them may come in and kick the child to make it stand up. The others never come close, but peer in at it with frightened, disgusted eyes.” (Guin, page 5.) It was as if the locking away of this child was the only way for them to happy. Was this child looked upon as bad luck? If he/she was let out to roam as the other people did, would all of these people really become miserable? “If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed.” ( Guin, page 5.)

Although, it was said that the people of Omelas had no guilt earlier on in this story, “one thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt.” (Guin, page 3.) this was not true at all. For the sake of their own happiness, because of their own little story made up in their head about this child they allowed that child to stay locked up. “To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement.” (Guin, page 6.) This “small improvement” was keeping that child locked away. This was the one thing they were okay about feeling guilty over.

Surely, not everyone could sleep in peace without worrying for or having an effect because of this child. Every now and then people would walk out of the city. “At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go to see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all.” (Guin, page 7.) What is unclear is what did these select few realize for them to just walk out? Was it the shame that finally hit? Was it realization that everyone around them believed in superstitions? Or did they realize that things weren’t really all that perfect in Omelas the way they were raised to believe?

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