Comparisonof “the Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and “the Lottery”,

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Essay I: Short Fiction

In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and “The Lottery”, Ursula Le Guin and Shirley Jackson depict a seemingly perfect society built on dark secrets. In the story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, Omelas is a utopian city of happiness and delight, whose inhabitants are smart and cultured. Everything about Omelas is pleasing, except for the secret of the city: the good fortune of Omelas requires that a single unfortunate child be kept in perpetual filth, darkness and misery, and that all its citizens should be told of this when they come of age. After being exposed to the truth, most of the people of Omelas are initially shocked and disgusted, but are ultimately able to come to terms with the fact and resolve to live their lives in such a manner as to make the suffering of the unfortunate child worth it; however, some choose to leave. In the story, “The Lottery”, a small village of about 300 has an annual lottery; women, men, and children participate, to see who will be the chosen to ensure enough rain to the corn crops. The way the winner does this is to be stoned to death. The way that the authors use irony to portray the story societies as wonderful and perfect and then toward the end show their dark secrets creates the intriguing and captivating works that they are.

In the story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, Omelas seems at first to be a beautiful and happy place. It takes place during a festival and there are children running around laughing and music. It talks about a race that is going to take place and how the horses are excited, “(the horses) flared their nostrils and pranced and boasted to one another,” with streamers of silver, gold, and green braided into their hair. The story has and air of excitement and celebration that is soon questioned when the author begins to talk about the child.

Omelas is shown to have a dark secret when it tells of the child who has to live in deplorable conditions in...
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