Who Walks Away from Omelas ?

Topics: Ursula K. Le Guin, Short story, The Dispossessed Pages: 4 (1439 words) Published: December 9, 2012
Who Walks Away From Omelas ?
In the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula LeGuin (n.d.), the narrator appears to be telling a story of child abuse from a third person point of view. In this paper I will attempt to expose the narrator, not only as a first person witness, but as a former citizen of Omelas, and as one of the lonely few who has walked away (pdf). LeGuin doesn't specify the gender of our narrator or the child in this story. I believe she intentionally left these decisions to the reader, allowing for a closer emotional attachment to either or both characters. For the purposes of this paper, from this point on, the narrator will be referred to as “she”, LeGuin as LeGuin, and the child's gender will remain in your hands. “With a clamor of bells that set the swallows souring”(LeGuin, n.d., para.1) so do they set forth a glorious description of Omelas, its citizens, and its annual summer festival. I feel the opening paragraph of the story is a vivid recollection of a time once beloved by our narrator at a young age, a description of how she saw the world and experienced the festival as a child living in Omelas. Details given in the way she identifies the landscape and geographic surroundings come across as a reconstructed memory, for example: “Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bay... snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white-gold fire...”(LeGuin, n.d., para.1), or “The great water-meadow called the Green Fields...”(LeGuin, n.d., para.1). These sentences sound like they're being reflected upon by an eye witness. “Even here, the voice we are hearing is not LeGuin, but a character, the 'pretended author'”(Baker, 2001, para.2). Not only are these places verbally painted for you to see in your mind, but a sneaky use of capitalization by LeGuin could be showing the reader that the narrator knows these places personally. A mountain range can have WHO WALKS 3...
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