By Symbolism: An explication of a Passage in Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"

Topics: Symbol, Short story, Ursula K. Le Guin Pages: 3 (929 words) Published: March 19, 2014

By Symbolism: An Explication of a passage in Le Guin’s
“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.” (par. 9) The short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin is rooted in a Utopian city which seems to be a place of great exuberance. She creates a deeper meaning by the use of tone and symbolism that is shown throughout the story. She begins the story by writing of the summer festival that is occurring in Omelas. She also speaks of procession of dancing in the streets of Omelas, the horses went about without gear, and how children played about the city. Symbolism is used excessively throughout this story. McGee agrees: “Ursula K. Le Guin critiques modern society in an artistic way. Le Guin accomplishes this by strategically written symbols, conveying the deeper moral” (McGee). Le Guin sets a delightful tone that symbolizes the happiness within the city and the naked children running freely to represent the exemption of guilt among the civilians of Omelas. Another example of this freedom is when Le Guin states that the people of Omelas “so they also got on without stock exchange, the advertisement, the secret police, and the bomb.” (Le Guin 253). This sentence shows that Omelas does not have any extreme authority within the city. The city of Omelas is a place that is free of judgment, guilt, and is filled with joy. The city symbolizes what most would consider a perfect city. The tone in The Ones Who Walk Away...
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