Le Guin- The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

After reading and taking a closer look at this story, I like it and understand it more each time. I must admit its a confusing read at first but taking the time to analyze each paragraph or sentence on its own really helps understand the bigger picture the author is trying to paint. Le Guin begin this story painting the picture of the town and its citizens. Personally I enjoyed the set up; I felt like it she gave the citizens a place to live in our heads before she gave us the plot of the story and of its characters. The imagery given is in great detail, it describes a sort of festival or celebration that we later discover is for the “sunlight of the first morning of summer” or in other words the first day of summer. The narrator begins to describe the town and everything utopian about it, and even invites us to create or add our own visions of what a perfect world can be like as show in page 2 towards the end of the paragraph the narrator says ” they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains, washing machines, and all kinds of marvelous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuel-less power, a cure for the common cold. Or they could have none of that; it doesn’t matter. As you like it.” Narrator then goes into an analysis of happiness, our happiness (the reader) compared to what the citizens of Omelas are to believe what happiness is. At this point of the story I feel that the narrator begins to add things to Omelas that we (as a society) can better envision because it is too good to be true, for example. top of page 3 “I fear that Omelas so far strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an orgy. If an orgy would help, don’t hesitate.” After this point in the story I feel as if the narrator is adding his/her own input/opinion on the utopia; of the things it has and what he/she believes it needs. I also like the sort of interaction the narrator has with the reader. Reassuring and questioning us on the validity of what we have read; this wonderful utopia. He/she assumes we don’t believe the story so begins telling us more on the town of Omelas. The shocking unexpected twist of the child or “it” as they say. This really caught me off guard, I would have never thought that in such a wonderfully painted place, something so inhumane and cruel can be happening. The story of child became part of the Omelas culture, proof is towards the end of page 5 where it reads “This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever they seem capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young people, though often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child. No matter how well the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened at the sight.” The people of Omelas are completely aware of this travesty and can do nothing about it. Finally the dystopia is revealed, a nightmare under this wonderful outer shell of Omelas. The citizens as well as readers understand this paradox because it is the only way to keep their society and “happiness” intact. Story ends with people, young or old, without any explanation leave Omelas. I’m lead to believe that they leave because they cannot stand being in this lie and disgusting town any longer. I also believe that the narrator could have been one of those persons that left, which is why he/she knows a fair amount about the town of Omelas.

Le Guin Reading Response 1:

While reading The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin, we can observe at first instance that the author uses a lot of descriptive imagery to make the reader a sensation of being physically there. On the first page, through all the imagery we can see that Omelas is going through a festive time with parades, decorated horses and a very natural and calming setting. Yet towards the last paragraph of the first page we begin to obtain another perspective of the individuals of Omelas. Le Guin began to describe how even though it was a joyful moment, people in reality had begun to lose the real feeling and sensation of happiness, and thus all their superficial joy was unreal and the tradition archaic. After the second page I did notice that Le Guin began to use less imagery and it began to get more confusing, to me it seemed as if there was some type of internal conflict of the narrator. I was extremely surprised to read that in a basement they held a child locked, and especially how Le Guin used imagery once again to emphasize the horrible living conditions. By this literary device I felt a sense of darkness and grieve. It was even more surprising to read that citizens of Omelas did this as a tradition and how this action gave them intelligence and good fortune. Overall in this story Le Guin used imagery to portray the overall important actions which at times seemed to be full of paradox.

The Day Before the Revolution also by Le Guin contained a vast amount of imagery throughout the story. I found this story very confusing at first and had to re-read it various times, but I was able to understand how Le Guin transition between scenes such as shown on the top of page two. It begins with a dream and the last paragraph ends by stating “She feared to fall, to fall, she stopped” but the following paragraphs begins with descriptions of the surroundings around her sleeping body such as the “Sun, bright morning-glare.” We gain a perspective of her dream yet also of her surroundings and I also noticed how she loved her husband Taviri through his constant mention throughout the story and how he was described. Le Guin keep transitioning between her past and present and comparing both for example on the second paragraph of page four the following is mentioned “they had grown up in the principle of freedom of dress and sex and all the rest, she hadn’t. All she had done was invent it.” In this sentence we can see how she was very liberal and lived her life as well as taking part in a social movement in her early years yet the new generation consider the freedom of dress and sex to be a principle of theirs, not knowing that this old lady had done this and much more. Then we learn about her letters which were written during her time in prison which she used to let her emotions out and be able to move on, yet people were taking it as an interpretation of “spiritual strength”. While reading the short story I started to notice how Le Guin portrayed her as an old woman whom is poor and is physically not well, yet as the story progresses and we gain a glimpse of her past and everything she had to go through. This made me think of how things are not always as they seem.

Le Guin Response – Allen

In Le Guin’s, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, I was surprised and liked how the author chose to start off by describing the setting of the story. Not only did it provide a great imagery of the introduction, but it also gives us a basis of the feeling of the story. It gives the reader a sense that the setting of the story is quite peaceful and lively and happy with the Festival going on and with children casually playing around. The narrator of the story is so happy and joyful, he doesn’t even know how to describe his own townspeople or fellow citizens(third to last line of first page). As I read into the second page of the story, its tone sounds completely different from the start and it surprises me. I’m not sure if it was the authors intention on throwing us off by starting off with this happy and joyful place but then showing off the dark side of these people. “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting.” This line is where it starts to confuse me and shocks me  on how the people of this town really are. I think one of the ideas that this story is trying to express is the idea of an utopia or their definition of a utopia. The author writes about how there are no specific rules, no stock exchange, advertisement, secret police and etc. Le Guin also adds to this idea of a peaceful utopia is that they have no use of violence. no swords, no slaves, and not barbarians. Although the narrator seems to be a spectator and not a citizen of this society, the ideas of this society seem to be obvious and well known.

Like in Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, his other story “The Day Before the Revolution” start off similar by talking about the setting and giving us a brief imagery of the scene. In the third page of the story, I got confused if there was a transition from the scene in the beginning to the third page, and i thought it was a flashback at first. The first sentence from the third paragraph really intrigued me, “The Toes, compressed by a liofetime of cheap shoes, were almost square where they touched each other, and bulged out above in corns; the nails were discolored and shapeless.” This really grabs my attention because in one sentence, the author describes the character in many ways. It tells us that the main character has gone through tough times and perhaps living a life of poverty to some extent. The author also provides us with a lot of imagery of the main character. The character describes herself as disgusting, sad and depressing and this really gives us the feeling that the character is disorganized and not confident with herself. I liked this because it got me brainstorming on how the actual plot will go. The language and style of writing in this story was a lot harder than in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.”

Le Guin

The first story I read was “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omealas” which I would say is a complicated story based on the way the people lived Omealas which at first glace is the perfect world. Ursala Le Guin used a lot of descriptive word withing this story to perfectly analyse how characters felt and the stances they felt of the perfect world. The beautiful city in which they lived in that from the outside would look like sadness didn’t exist and  nothing within is wrong. Everyone is satisfied and happy because everything is there for them even tho it might not be the latest in technology. but one thing is left to remind them what misery looks like to teach them that happiness is simple and only those who learn of satisfaction and to let go would know happiness , which is the ten year old child locked in a closet that never sees daylight. from the outside its is a city that everyone one wants to go to because everything is perfect but ones inside the true darkness is shown. They depict that with only one sacrifice is needed for the the whole city would be happy. those that chose to leave are the ones who realize that there really is no such thing as a happy and perfect world so they leave the city. In a sense this story reminds me a lot about Buddhism which is taught that letting go is all we need in order to find happiness and greed is the cause to pain. Those that are willing to let go would reach Nirvana.

The second story was “The Day Before the Revolution”  also by Le Guin this story like the first gave a lot of description of the characters. But the plot is definitely more confusing in the way the story is written. It is sort of depressing in a sense but most of it is almost like a sad story of Laia and all things she goes through. The thought that death in a sense no longer ever mattered and even to the end things are not always explained such as the reference to the flowers. But the way Laia was portrayed was that she knew when to let go and not be desperate in how certain things may turn out and just be worry free even with all the things she went through such as the death of her husband and even the though of her own death. she doesn’t like to hinder others with her problems. In a sense she knows when to be satisfied. The generation gaps of the new society don’t realize the struggles in which he old generation had to go through. So people don’t know how certain things are taken for granted.Which in most cases are true such as today how people would complain about everything bust never realized that they were already living in luxury that people in that past didn’t have or even some of people of the 3rd world.

Le Guin Blog

After reading “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin I spent a lot of time thinking about how society functions and Le Guins idea of a utopian society.  The author viewed a utopian society as one that is drug free, government free, law free and everyone is happy. Guin mentions often in his view of a utopian society where everyone is nude. I believe he used this as a symbol of being completely free of any government or laws. I imagined the society to visually be a futuristic medieval times type of design where there is no technology but the buildings themselves are futuristic in today’s standards.  However, in one of these buildings the author describes a child. This child is described to be all dirty and bruised from sitting in his or her own feces.  The child is nude like everyone else but they are very dirty and not visually appealing like everyone else.  In the story it is said that the child was neglected growing up and therefore he turned out like this.  I believe that this symbolizes what a bad environment can lead to in today’s world.  If a kid today is brought up in a broken family that is addicted to all of life’s vices, then they will turn up like that and be the very opposite of a utopian society. At the end the author describes people leaving the city of Omelas and not returning. I believe that this symbolizes that even though society is perfect, people still won’t like it and therefore you cannot satisfy everyone.  Maybe the child mentioned is a result of what you return as when you leave Omelas. I also read another piece that is in relation to “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and it was entitled “The Day before Revolution” which was also written by the same author. In the prelude for the reading, the author immediately mentions that this piece was about someone who left Omelas. In my opinion this person is lead to be the protagonist who doesn’t have a name. The setting of the story is in the middle of a rebellion which in my opinion could potentially be the climax so to speak in a road to get to the people’s eyes of a utopia. The protagonist lost her husband Taviri to this rebellion. The protagonist then grows old and is unable to take care of herself and I feel that she sort of lost this will power when her husband died. The protagonist maybe believes that her own utopia would have to include her husband and she cannot have one without him. This story tended to jump all over the place and include a lot of detail that did not provide any detail to the story. You really have to dig deep to see how this even can be viewed as a story for utopian societies. Also the author doesn’t mention Omelas at all besides the prelude.

Le Guin

 Reading Ursula Le Guin’s stories I had a very clear picture of what was going on. Whatever the setting was I can imagine it as if I was remembering a scene from a movie. Comparing her stories “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and “The Day Before the Revolution” I realize how different they are. I enjoyed more “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” it had a very pleasant setting, with every one being happy and living to enjoy life. Le Guin introduces the story with the Festival of Summer which I pictured as a Southern Party from the 1850’s. In the eyes of the people it was perfect, they found a way to erase a horrible secret and bury it in order to live a happily ever after life. Reading the beginning of the story and hearing about this wonderful place I began to imagine what would be like living there and how it would be nice to live there, but when the part of the little boy came my mood about this perfect life changed completely. I started feeling pity and anger, I even started feeling very protective of this imaginative innocent child. I could not imagine how the people in this story could go and see him like it was part of a ritual into adulthood and go on with their happy without doing anything. In my opinion if someone can live with that they don’t deserve to be happy. and I believe that I were in this story I would be one of the people who leave the town and live a hard life then to live on a good one at the cost of someone’s a child’s suffering.

 “The Day Before the Revolution” didn’t capture my interest as much. Although I also was able to easily picture the scenes in my head I wasn’t able to obtain (I guess you can say) the emotional connection that I had with the previous story. This had more of a dystopian setting, with the citizens wanting to revolt again their higher authority, it seemed like a place of chaos. Where the law enforcement was taking advantage of their power and people were fighting back. Abuse and violence everywhere. I think it was a little too out of control, so much that the main character, Laia believed that the new generation was fighting for a reason that was not originally planned for the revolution. After her husband died, she lost interest in fighting for the cause and she became nothing more than a piece in a historical museum until she had enough and gave in into “falling.” They were very interesting stories, both with an unexpected twist and I have a good feeling that the other stories by Ursula Le Guin were just as interesting and captivating as “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and “The Day Before the Revolution.”

City of Omelas & Odonians EXPOSED

Shadows are mysterious; it resembles the idea of something unknown-something that is not identifiable. Ursula Le Guin, writer of The Day Before the Revolution and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, exposes the lurking shadows that are found in the City of Omelas and the past of Laia Asieo Odo.

As I began to read the literature piece The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas I did not expect this city to be connected to something so dark and deceiving. I painted this beautiful scenery in my mind as I began to read the first couple of paragraphs, Le Guin describes the “perfect” place, “perfect” setting and “perfect” people according to the city of Omelas. She described a place that seemed too good-to-be-true. As I kept reading, I could have never imagined what secret this city has been hiding or even what is the secret for having such a great city?

What separates this city from every other city?

The author stunned me when she stated, “I do not know the rules and laws of their society, but I suspect that they were singularly few…Yet I repeat that these were not simple folk, not dulcet shepherds, nobel savages, bland utopians. They were not less complex than us.” As I piece this puzzle, the city of Omelas is filled with Utopians, who believe in having a near perfect society, very well organized in all aspects in my opinion. This statement stunned me because I believe that perfection does not exist and those who strive to be perfect hide any possible flaw that intervenes with their goal-and I am correct.

As the author describes the secret the City of Omelas has, has had me in awe. It is very heartbreaking-cannot begin to imagine if I were that young boy/girl whose secluded from the entire world and no one cares to take me out of that predicament. But I keep questioning myself, what is the objective of having a child separated from everyone else? Why must every citizen in the town/city ignore this helpless young child? I find it interesting how the author states that once a child reaches a certain age, they visit the young child-maybe to declare some sort of warning?

Regardless, I think it is very inhumane to treat any human in such way, whether it is to help “perfect” a place (perhaps the citizens take out their inner rage on the helpless child in order to not expose any negativity to others?–who knows?!) or even through an obligation. It is just cruel.

There is some connection between The Day Before the Revolution and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, possibly the idea of Odonians?

What I grasp from this story is that a woman named Laia Asieo Odo is surrounded by Odonians, which possibly connects to the city of Omelas. Laia is a widow who has had a major stroke in the past and has affected her life currently. It is a little confusing to me to understand the main point of this literature since I feel like the character travels from the past and present constantly. This literature is a bit more complex than the previous story above.

Overall, both literatures from Ursula Le Guin are very interesting and definitely opens your mind about the ideas of perfection, secrets and how one’s perspective has an impact on others.

Very interesting.

Reading Response #1

I didn’t really understand the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The first 4.5 pages of this story was kind of boring to me. I felt that the first couple of pages was just filler for the real part of the story. What I got from this short story was that the city Omelas was a great beautiful place to live. Everyone in the town was happy, the people was cultured. Omelas was a perfect little town, and the perfect place to be. Although it came off as the city was so happy and joyful. Come to find out it was hiding a terrible secret. There was a child locked away in a small room in one of the buildings of the city. This child was filthy, naked, malnourished, sad and alone. It was afraid of any and everything. Everyone from the town of Omelas knew that the child was there. Why was this child there? If the people knew that the child was there, why wouldn’t or couldn’t they help him/her? This was because their city thrived on the child’s unhappiness. The city wouldn’t and couldn’t be joyful or happy or cultured, if the child wasn’t locked away. In the text it stated, “they all know that it has to be there. Some of them understood why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of the city……depends wholly on this child’s abominable misery.” How could a town of people be so happy that a child is locked away? How could people let a child suffer? According to the short story, the people of Omelas wanted to help the poor child. But they couldn’t. In the text it stated, “but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed. Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.” To me it sounds like Utilitarianism. Which is that all action should aim for the maximum amount of happiness, for the greatest number of people.


I struggled so much trying to read The Day Before the Revolution. I could not read it straight through. I felt that it was really really long, and I could hardly focus. Le Guin uses a lot of imagery in both literary works. I didn’t really understand anything the author was trying to convey with this story. The only thing that I got from this short story is that, Laia the old women started a revolution many years ago. She suffered from a stroke, and her husband is long gone. I can’t really say much about this story. Although it was difficult for me to read and understand The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas, the message was more clear there then it was in The Day Before the Revolution.

Le Guin – Reading Response #1

After reading The Day Before the Revolution for the first time my mind was all over the place. I had no idea of what to make of this story. It took me awhile to finish this reading because I wasn’t focusing on it. I felt it was way too long and just flat out confusing especially all the different names. While reading I caught myself just looking at the words and not grasping/ paying attention to them and I was not understanding what I was reading.  I then read this story over again and got somewhat of a better understanding. I felt the imagery Le Guin used was great. From the details in the story I was able to picture the different peoples appearances  ex : “(an old woman with grey hair . . . in a slum, muttering to herself)” Le Guin page 12.  I imagined an old lady sitting on a dirty city street. I also imagined a very gloomy setting wherever the old lady went almost like a dark cloud on top of her. I think that the old lady wanted to preserve the area around her in which she was so used to and to keep everything the same as it always was even as she is getting older and older and all she is doing is just reminiscing on the past when she was younger and how everything used to be. I still didn’t fully understand the whole meaning this story is trying to give off but I think it can be interpreted in different ways. I feel that adding other names and places confused me and it was hard to try and change back and forth on who Le Guin was writing about. I think the main focus of this story should have been only about the old lady’s life and not other people because I was at times unsure with who is who. One part of the story I felt was interesting was the quotation “(courage – what was courage? . . . not fearing, some said. Fearing yet going on)” Le Guin page 6. This part really made me think about how there are many different meanings of words and its just based on how you interpret it.  I would think that this story is a utopia because of how the old lady lived and wanted everything to be the way it was for example: being with her husband. I think that shows this story is a utopia because that was her perfect world, her husband being alive.

From reading The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas I can say that Le Guin is good at using adjectives and imagery to enable the reader to imagine or put themselves in that setting. This story also confused me. Le Guin didnt actually give any specific names of people, but just kept repeating “they”,  “he”, “the child” . I wanted to try and place a character in the situation because I was able to clearly picture where and how this story was taking place. On the first page Le Guin described the Festival of Summer which led me to believe it was a happy place where everyone of Omelas came together and celebrated. After continuing reading Le Guin writes about the child who is locked in the basement. I didnt like this at all because the child was being referred to as “it” and because that Le Guin really enables the reader to picture how everything looks really made me feel bad for the child and the harsh living conditions. I felt this was weird because to what I thought, the first page was described as a happy place with “a cheerful faint sweetness of the air”. I think that this story was an example of a dystopia because although in the beginning of the story it was described as what I thought was good environment, Le Guin added the element of the child locked in the basement with a rusty bucket and dirty floors. Le Guin writes that perhaps the child was born defective with feelings of fear and neglect. I think that can maybe be a dystopia because in the real world its okay if a person may have some type of defect or disability and they are still equal to any other person. But, in Omelas where I interpreted as a “perfect sounding” world the child added almost a feeling of negativity. (which in my opinion is wrong) The element of the child in this story really made me dislike it.



Le Guin – Luis Comori

Ursula Le Guin is VERY good at describing the setting to the reading in both short stories “The Day Before The Revolution” and “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”. The clearly describes every detail of the character’s surroundings and ambience noise in the background. I was able to quickly depict how the character or object looks like. By using a huge array of descriptive words i was immersed into the story and almost feel as if I was  in the room myself. As seen in “The Day Before The Revolution” a description was given to every character and object that the main character interacted with. I felt like I was this elderly woman and Le Guin beautifully narrates it in a third person view , as if you were behind Laia the whole time.With the use of flash backs to past events I was able to create a relationship with Laia , as if I knew her all along. Le Guin , the author,  made you relive Laia’s past and gave me a decent understanding of what she has been through to have reached where she was now. The author described characters who I thought was a bit pointless but none the less kept adding more information about Laia and her being old enough to not be able to fully take care of herself.She musters the strength to walk around the streets only to become ill and weak.I believe this reminded her how it was when she was young and living in poverty.I did not understand this part at all and was quite lost about its significance. I was able to sum up the fact that she missed her husband dearly , Taviri , and found herself to be an annoyance to others and I believe she does pass away at the end of story as she walks up the stairs. I wasn’t able to comprehend the link between this story and to a utopia.

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” had a very colorful and happy setting , almost as if it was impossible or unattainable. There seemed to be no sadness but only room for what made sense to have. The people of Omelas did not have the need for fancy necessities such as fancy technology but only need the essentials ( such as a train station). Every one was happy and dancing and celebrating , I want to say they were celebrating an anniversary of peace and prosperity. But they had something that reminded them that its not always been a happy and perfect world. They held a young child in a closet to remind themselves how the world can be . I feel like they used the boy as a way to keep them clear minded and to continue doing good in the world unless they want to end up like this defective and unusable person , who had nothing to contribute to this perfect city. Other had ideas that maybe if they were able to help the young child that they could help others as well and make the world a better place.