Omelas

Good Essays
Topics: Happiness
In Ursula Le Guin’s fantasy science fiction story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, LeGuin uses vague and vivid imagery to add to the mystifying and perplexing city of Omelas. The author reveals that words are insufficient to describe how perfect the city of Omelas is, and ask the reader to create their own mental image of the people and town. In other words, Omelas is a utopia which is impossible to conceive in modern society due to conflict of interest making it impractical to satisfy everyone’s needs. The author proposes key elements or symbols that allow for Omelas to exist as a paradise.
First, what exactly is a utopia and how does it relate to happiness? The dictionary states, “an imagined place or state of things in which everything
…show more content…
The child is used as a sacrifice for the people of Omelas, to ensure that the population lives with prosperity and peace. The child serves multiple functions in the society, and one of them is the scapegoat. To live in Omelas it becomes a rite of passage to know the existence of the child and the narrator explains what the people think of it, “Some of the 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” (LeGuin 534). The quote describes the purpose of the child’s imprisonment, that if he wasn’t in misery, the whole town will be in desolation. In the story, it is shown that the child remembers a time before he was imprisoned, often calling out to his mother. It is known that he used to call out to be able to be freed, showing that he did not sign up to take the role of a martyr. Thus, they begin to live in acceptance of this fact, if they ever falter the narrator states, “To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single improvement… that would be to let the guilt within the walls indeed” (LeGuin 530). The Omelas people are able to live with themselves by denying the guilt they feel, …show more content…
This situation speaks in volumes, and can be seen throughout life. For example, all people of a society know there are homeless people who are starving, or suffering among them, yet people tend to make two decisions. They either help them or ignore it and accept that homelessness is a fact. Few people would risk their own safety or happiness to help another faceless person, they do not know. The utopian’s people happiness definition can be applied here where, to be happy people deny their own guilt of not helping others, or that their must be homeless to have people be more financially well off like job

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Omelas Idealism

    • 479 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The One Who Walked Away from Omelas I do not think the narrator lives in Omelas, because of the way he compares their society to ours, and “them” to “us.” He also never includes himself in his descriptions of them, although that begs the question: how does he know them so intimately if not for having been there? The Omelas society is utopian, intelligent, compassionate, respectful, having no need for law, or clergy, beautifully built; the list goes on. Everything is perfect, all except the…

    • 479 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Omelas Guilt

    • 1128 Words
    • 5 Pages

    lifestyle with black slaves who worked on white men’s fields. This behavior is also shown through literature. In the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” by Ursula Le Guin, the majority of people of Omelas are fine with making someone…

    • 1128 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    omelas

    • 303 Words
    • 2 Pages

    When writing it is very important to use either logos, pathos, or ethos. Ethos is the appeal to moral character, logos appeals with reason and logic, and pathos appeals to the emotions. It is very important to use all of these when writing but of course, everyone has a favorite. My favorite happens to be Logos. I would prefer to use logos because I like backing myself up with logical ideas that are facts. When using logos I like to use clear and concise information to help readers see logically…

    • 303 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Omelas Essay

    • 983 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Omelas and American Society. Disturbingly Futuristic? Nothing in this world is perfect, just as no single person is perfect. You can’t attain perfection in an imperfect world. There can be no light without dark. But in the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” you come across a truly perfect world with a small catch: the suffering of an individual for the happiness of the rest. Of course there are many differences between the two worlds that present themselves easily. However there are…

    • 983 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Omelas Symbolism

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The entire population of Omelas joins together in various processionals through the city. Young boys and girls in the Green Fields exercise their horses in preparation for the festival race. The city might seem perfect, but it is far from it. Beneath the city lives a nameless…

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    City of Omelas

    • 856 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Justin Campbell Professor J. Eastman English 102, Tues and Thur 5:00 Essay 3 11 March 2010 The Wonderful World of Omelas The city of Omelas is a city compared to heaven, but in reality, it is more like hell. The Festival of Summer paints a perfect picture of a city of happiness with an air of excitement, characterized by boisterous running children, prancing horses and flag-adorned boats. The mere reason all the people in the small town are so happy is because this one adolescent child is…

    • 856 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Omelas Moral Dilemma

    • 839 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Omelas Moral Dilemma In "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" Ursula LeGuin is raising the moral dilemma of justice vs. happiness. The happiness of the citizens in Omelas depends on the suffering of a child locked in a closet. She briefly describes the contrast between the child’s situation and the citizens’ position, portraying a moral dilemma, which is when you have to choose to do one of two equally unpleasant things. LeGuin portrays an ideal life “boats in the harbor sparkled with flags…

    • 839 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Omelas Literary Argument

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages

    March 26, 2012 The Iron Curtain of Omelas The short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, written by Ursula Le Guin, is about a so-called perfect society where the sacrifice of a child is what provides harmony, equality, and prosperity to the citizens of this city. As a reader, one is invited to create and visualize their own utopia, so that one is emerged with the reality of a moral dilemma: the happiness of many for the unhappiness of one. The symbol represented in the story reflects…

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    West 1 Tyler West January 9, 2012 Period 4 The Giver and Omelas Period four honors English read the two science fiction books, The Giver written by Lois Lowery, and “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” written by Ursula LeGuin. The Giver describes an anti utopian society where everything is the same. Food is equally given to everyone, they are chosen a job for them, there is no color, and everything in this society is said in the book as “sameness.” When it is time for Jonas to be chosen a…

    • 491 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Omelas: Utopian Society

    • 358 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Utopia society, a society that is perfect in every way. The city of Omelas is described as this fairy tale and magical place. The narrator gives details of the city that has no organized church, they do not engage in war, no guilt and they feel joy through each other’s energy. Then the narrator turns it on the reader to add anything to his or her own fantasy world, so that the reader is able to make a connection to this magical world she is describing. Le Guin, the author, makes a suggestion that…

    • 358 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays