"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" Analysis on the Use of Light in the Story

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Shining a Light on Omelas
Light. Light is undoubtedly the most important entity in the entire universe. Though, it is taken for granted more than anything else despite its significance. It is always there, dependable day by day with the rotation of the earth or by the switching on of a light switch. Without light, life ceases to exist. There would be no plants, for they would not be able to create their own food. Without plants, there would be no primary energy source for the other animals on the Earth. This, in turn, would mean humans would never have existed and this discussion would never be taking place. Light is the core of hope and love, the central idea for never giving up. Pure light grants warmth and affection, encompassing one with a sense of safety and protection. It is the difference between knowing something is there and being totally unaware of its presence. Light brings out the color in every single thing that has substance. If there is no color, there is no expression. There would be no yellows, which inspire happiness; no greens, which symbolize life and being; no red, that arouses anger and confrontation; and there would be no pink, which conveys love and compassion. It brings out the true nature of every single thing in existence, be it alive or not. In the absence of light, unfortunately, there is darkness. Darkness is the epitome of fear and terror. It is the foundation of uncertainty, hatred, and abhorrence. Darkness promotes distrust and is an easy cover for evil and vile doings. Being imprisoned in the dark gives one the feeling of loneliness and isolation, having no hope of ever escaping its clutches. It makes its victims feel like the only getaway is death, for in death there is hope that there may be something better. Maybe there will be light. Light, the only opponent of darkness. This is the battle between light and dark, good versus evil, God versus Satan. Light is the end of a long, forsaken tunnel that has taken almost an eternity to journey through, while darkness is a little child trapped in a closet with no desire or want to live or exist. Utilizing the struggle of light and dark with skill can prove to be one of the finest ways to sway an audience and is used abundantly in literature throughout the ages. In Ursula Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, she uses the various forms of light with white light, darkness, and the visible light spectrum to establish mood in the story.

Light is an extremely useful tool in establishing a mood in a story. As a whole, it produces a sense of hope, happiness, and joy in a reader. Its use is apparent especially in this case where, “There is a room. It has one locked door, and no window. A little light seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards...” (Le Guin 3). In this part of the story, the little bit of light signifies that there is a false sense of hope within this room. Since there is not complete, pure darkness, it would give whoever or whatever is trapped in that room an identity and a face. Though, the little light that is entering has a dusty nature to it. Here, it indicates that the hope that may be there is fleeting and deceiving. The boards are holding back the potential of happiness and the locked door annihilates the possibility of joy. Ultimately trapping whatever is in there and damning its pitiful existence to solitude. With the little bit of light giving negative vibes, an abundance of light proves to accomplish the opposite. One such case is, “The child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother’s voice, sometimes speaks” (Le Guin 4). Sunlight, in this case, is being compared to the comforting voice of a mother. The light instills optimism and certain aspiration to see it again and to be in its glow and warmth, just like being within the grasping, loving arms of a mother. Sadly, sunlight is a nearly forgotten, distant dream to this child and the little remembrance...
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