The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas: Useful or Useless

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Useful or Useless?

The short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula LeGuin is one that sparks interest and debate. LeGuin starts the story by introducing us to the utopian city of Omelas. However, the survival of Omelas’ happiness depends on the mistreatment of one forsaken child. Although all of the citizens know about the child, most choose to accept that “all the prosperity and beauty and delight would wither and be destroyed” if the child were treated fairly. Some, on the other hand, after seeing the child and the horrible conditions it lives in, decide to walk away from it all and leave Omelas forever. LeGuin’s fantasy utopia is much like the world we live in today. There are many who suffer at the expense of those who prosper every day. People in the world today undergo an immense amount of suffering just for the happiness of others. One example that I can think of off the top of my head would be slavery. For over two hundred years, Africans were the property of others (usually wealthy White men). They were bought, sold and held against their will. In a sense, slavery reminds me a lot of the child that was locked away in Omelas. People knew about it but there was very little that they could do. Much like the child in Omelas, slaves had horrible living conditions. They lived in cramped huts that they built themselves and sometimes shared with as many as ten other slaves. They slept on dirt floors which would often turn to mud due to poor assembling of their roofs. Even though the child in Omelas didn’t have to undergo any physical labor like slaves, his form of labor was to live caged and miserable just to provide everyone except himself with happiness. There are also people who partake in child abuse and child labor and let children suffer for their own personal gain. There are tons of kids who go through child labor and abuse just so that we as Americans can be happy. Children in China who work in sweatshops for little to no pay making...
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