All for One, or One for All

Topics: The Enormous Radio, John Cheever, Suffering Pages: 4 (1248 words) Published: August 25, 2005
All For One, or One For All
>>>>>In "The Enormous Radio" and "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas," a question about suffering is raised. When comparing these two short stories, one is compelled to ask is it better that a society suffer to improve the life of one person, or instead is it better that one person suffers to improve the life of a society. In "The Enormous Radio" and "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas, " the main characters dealt with the pain and suffering in their societies in ways that were remarkably similar as well as strikingly contradictory. In response to the question that these stories present, I answer that the least amount of suffering is most beneficial. However, answering this question about suffering becomes increasingly more difficult with the application of real life situations. In the case of each of the two short stories, suffering has effects on those who are not directly affected. For example, Irene is depressed by the tough times that her neighbors encounter. And in addition, some of the people in the city of Omelas are forced to walk away because they can not bear to witness the suffering in their society any longer.

>>>>>The main characters in each story are members of societies with standards of living that are better than average. To describe Jim and Irene in "the Enormous Radio," John Cheever writes, "Jim and Irene Westcott were the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor and respectability that is reached by the statistical reports in college alumni bulletins"(288). Clearly, Irene Westcott and her husband are living comfortably. In regard to the city of Omelas, Ursela K. Le Guin writes, "Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time. Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy birds, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I can not suit you all. Stated more plainly, the people of Omelas are living...

Cited: Cheever, John. "The Enormous Radio." Discovering Literature. Eds. Hans P. Guth and
Gabriel Rico. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997. 288-295.
Guin, Ursela. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." Discovering Literature. Eds.
Hans P. Guth and Gabriel Rico. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997. 410-414.
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