Those Who Walk Away from Omela

Topics: Ursula K. Le Guin, Short story, Utopia Pages: 4 (1276 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Jane Doe
Mini Essay 3
Those Who Walk Away From Omelas
Ursula Le Guin’s short story "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas," examines the issue of societal and individual responsibility in a culture. Le Guin wrote the short story to encourage the audience to renounce the exploitation of others that makes possible a high standard of living and to renounce the scapegoat-motif that justifies an extravagant life at the expense of others (Collins 525). Through jubilant rituals and captivating depictions, Le Guin outlines precise aspects of the Utopian society to present her theme. In the backdrop of all the jubilant rituals, most citizens of Omelas are suppressing the pains of guilt with an overwhelming desire to maintain the Utopian society by dehumanizing a suffering child. On the other hand, those who walked away from Omelas are entranced by the intolerable pains of guilt, and as a result, they are totally oblivious to their indispensable societal and individual duty to ensure the dignity of every human being. An analysis of the Utopian society, the suffering child, and those who walked away from Omelas in the work illustrates the author's theme. A survey of the rhetorical situation in which Le Guin wrote this particular work helps explain her inspiration and purpose in writing this work. First, Le Guin’s story needs to be considered in historical context. Ursula Le Guin’s “Those Who Walk Away From Omelas,” was first published in 1973, and won the Hugo Award (for Science Fiction) the next year (“The Ones”). During that period, American society was suffering from “political, social, and cultural upheavals” like America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and hippie movement (“The Ones”). Led by mainly young people, the antiwar movement and hippies challenged the older generation’s values in all parts of society. In addition, Le Guin explains the central themes of her story come from a passage from William James’s \The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life (Berdine)....
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