Why Walk When You Could Run?
It has been said by many, "Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members”. What if the weakest member of a society is placed in a position to carry the town’s woes? That is true in Ursala Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Le Guin’s depressing tale describes a society that is neither compassionate nor relevant, speaks about a culture of people who are corrupt thereby making the characters static. However, those citizens of Omelas that do discover the enlightenment of conscience and walk away symbolize a shunning of their culture. The people of Omelas, no matter how happy they may seem, show no compassion throughout the story. This can be proven by how they treat the child in the cellar and that the people disregard the child willingly for some illusion of happiness. The people of Omelas mistreat the weakest member of the society by, “kick[ing] the child to make it stand up” (Le Guin par. 8). Not only do the people beat the child but mal nourish it by feeding the child with, “a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day” (Le Guin par. 8). The reason that the child is mistreated and malnourished in the way that it is, as Le Guin writes, is because if the child were to be helped, “…in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed” (Le Guin par. 10). As a result of this fact, in order for the people to continue to be happy they must mistreat this child and keep it in slave conditions, “…there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child” (Le Guin par. 11). The problem with this belief is that one does not know happiness without knowing pain, and if you do not know pain or loss how can one say that they are happy? The corruption that is evident in the City of Omelas proves that the chacters involved are static in nature. For some unknown reason the city of Omelas has a strict rule that being nice in any sort to the...
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