Reading Response #1: Le Guin

The first page of  “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” had very vivid imagery, almost as if one was there, almost too good to be true. Once I finished reading the first page I didn’t see how the title related with the story, if I were the Le Guin I would have named the story something else, a more obvious title. As I continued on reading, the second page to me felt as though I was reading nothing. After reading one line I felt as though the next contradicted the first, a lot of questions were being asked but none answered by the narrator or characters in the story. “Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive. In the middle category, however—that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort, luxury, exuberance, etc.—they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains, washing machines, and all kinda of marvelous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuelless power, a cure for a common cold” (pg2). This part to me felt as though it went against all the imagery in the first page, I think because we today take these things for granted. The first page has such rich detail and this scene is portrayed as though the people of this town think it’s the best day to look forward to in their lives. Everything in the city seems so peaceful, until they get to the basement and start talking about the child who’s locked inside. Now I must admit, the imagery was very peaceful and relaxing to read but I wasn’t into the story until this part. The town seemed to not have anything wrong with it but in fact according to them it did, this problem was the child, whom they thought might have been born defective. Sadly, in today’s world there are still people who would prefer to have people with certain defects locked away somewhere. Although, I think there is nothing wrong with being different at all, intentionally or not. Mary Temple Gradin, born autistic but yet she contributed a great insight to animal science and she was also an author, even though many people thought she was not capable of doing anything remotely to this. As they described how people in the city came to this basement to see the child the question that comes to my mind is “ If everyone is so interested in seeing the child, why not let the child live amongst those same people? What is the purpose of hiding the child that everyone wants to see?” The fact that people are so moved by the “imprisonment” of the child to the point where some people even leave the city. “Delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed,”(pg6) if the child were to be let out, why this would be I’m not too sure.

I liked the “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” more then “The Day Before the Revolution” only because I felt this story was all over the place. I also felt as though the story was way too long and pointless. I understood she was in a home and that she is an “important” figure of a movement, but she (the old lady) refers to a lot of people from her past some who were in prison but now dead.  I really didn’t understand why she referred to these people, or what was the significance in the character Noi.  When she was in the bathroom before Noi arrived she was worried about her hair and upset about the stain on her shirt, the way Noi was described made it seem as though she was some what attracted to Noi.  What I got out of the story was that her and her husband were activist in a movement, her husband died and all she had was a folder, Noi helped her write response to people who wrote her letters, she made a trip to see the outside world, the one she considered herself a part of. When she went outside she saw all these different things, feeling dizzy someone who lived in her house helped her back, for her to then find out once getting there that there was going to be a march the very next day, when everyone asked her for advice she said she wouldn’t be here, im guessing she knew her time was coming. Im assuming she dies because of the way the story ended. She was old and fragile, she felt very tired, very weak, once the march for the revolution came, I take it as though now she can finally get real rest. Everything that made her tired, everything she worked for was now being accomplished and carried on by the younger folks to whom she spoke and wrote to. After reading this I think I’m missing the bigger picture or the actual reason/purpose as to why the story was written.

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