Just a reminder that you should make your at least one comment (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by Sunday (3/2).
Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments (of course, more are always welcome!) in response by Wednesday (3/5).
The goal is to have some good virtual discussions here to help you think critically about this short story. You can respond to one of my “discussion-starter”prompts/questions below, or you can discuss any other aspect of the text that isn’t mentioned there.
Your comments need not be very long: for example, you can provide a quote/citation and a few sentences of explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question (or you can raise questions, complicate issues, extend discussions, analyze a character, or setting, etc.).
Here are some thoughts to get you started:
- Discuss the initial imagery of Omelas (3-4).
- Discuss the varying ways happiness is described in the text.
- Who is the narrator?
- How does the narrator invite the reader (“you”) to imagine the utopian city of Omelas (2-3)? Why does the narrator want the reader to co-create this utopia? What purpose might it serve in the context of what happens later in the text?
- Why does the narrator keep asking the readers if they believe him/her (middle p. 4; bottom p. 6)? How have things changed in the story (and the readers’ perception of it) by the time the questions are asked the second time around towards the end of the story?
- Discuss the characterization of the child in the room (and perhaps compare it to the boy flute player at the top of p. 4).
- Why does everyone in the city have to be aware of the existence of the child? (5)
- Is it possible to have a happy/good/just society at the expense of someone else?
- Is ignorance bliss? Would the people in the story be better off not knowing of its existence? What would be gained from this ignorance? What would be lost?
- Can you think if any analogy of the child in the room in our society? If so, who is the child, and who suffers at its expense?
- Why do some people walk away from Omelas? Who are these people? Where do they go?
- Explore how an element of fiction (or multiple ones) plays out in the text.
- Explore one (or more) of the items on the Utopian/Dystopian Framework within the context of this short story.