The city lurking behind the city

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas  by Ursula Le Guin is a great story, perhaps it is one of the best stories I’ve read in a while. The setting is in a place called Omelas, where everything seems to be perfect, where all the people there are happy, their children are safe and healthy, there seems to be no war or famine, however, it only appears so to the unaware eye. “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” ( Ursula, 5). This is a glimpse into the horror a child has to go through, for Omelas to be this not so perfect place where people are living great and joyous lives.

The city of Omelas can be seen as a symbolic place, a place that reminds its inhabitants that everything has a cost. The beautiful landscapes, the houses, the joy and contentment in everyone’s lives, is nothing else but the fruit of a child’s suffering. ” They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand 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 abominable misery” ( Ursula, 5 ). The previous quote tells us the people who live in the city all know about the child in the closet, there is no forgetting about it, everything that is beautiful around them is a reminder of their disregard of the child’s wellbeing.

The inhabitants of the city are all aware of the reason why everything is so wonderful, but not all of them bother to think about much. Most people in the city just keep going about their day they dedicate a great deal of energy and effort into keeping their minds busy. The others are not capable of doing the same, they often go pay the child a visit, visits that end up becoming the last push they needed to be convinced of leaving that wicked and perverted city. ” They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back” ( Ursula, 7 ).  In this quote, some of the people who were living in the city, were so horrified by the things people allowed to continue happening, the only solution they deemed viable, was to just walk out and away from the  city. The people who left the city can be said to have felt guilt, a feeling that goes in direct opposition to the narrators previous statement, “One thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt” ( Ursula, 3 ). In is quote, the narrator states that Omelas is a perfect city, therefore there is no guilt in Omelas, but from a readers point of view, the people who left the city left because they could not handle the immense amount of guilt that they felt while living in such a place.

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