Justifying One

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Justifying One’s Existence by Means of Scapegoating

Great writers often infuse their writing with various literary devices to enhance the interpretation and the quality of their writing. Ursula K. LeGuin’s allegorical short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” is a rich text describes how the use of scapegoats allows a city to function successfully. Thus, the use of scapegoats allows people to justify their own existence. By using the literary devices of allegory, characterization, metaphor and imagery, LeGuin succeeds in taking the reader on both an internally and externally reflective journey. This apocalyptic-type of society is not given a specific setting, and the context can be applied to historical contexts of the past as well as the future. The short story is best interpreted by examining the extended metaphor of allegory. The citizens of Omela live in a society where traditions are upheld without question. They truly believe that their society is harmonious, and even believe it to be a utopia. However, their blatant neglect of the one child in the village is a comment on the unethical mentality of the majority of this dystopian society. As supported in LeGuin’s story: “Some of them understood why, and some did 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 abom- inable misery”(LeGuin 326).

There could not be an outpouring of support for the unfortunate abominable child. If the Omela society wanted to enjoy all the luxuries of life and good fortune, it had to understand that there had to be a parallel of suffering: Additional evidence supports this:, They knew if the wretched one were not their sniveling in the dark, the other...
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