One Who Walked Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

Topics: Utopia, Short story, Ethics Pages: 3 (949 words) Published: April 14, 2013
In the story The One Who Walked Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin is about a perfect utopian society without any misery. Omelas’s happiness is based on discrimination, pain is intellectual, and evil is interesting. Omelas finds it necessary to sacrifices one child’s misery. However, the people choose to live life in content knowing that the child is locked in despair because it remains them to be happy.

According to the city of Omelas, there has to be an immoral sacrifice to make the citizens appreciate everything. In the short story, the adults are portrayed as if they are on ecstasy and also intelligent, while the children are happy and laughing. However, their happiness depends on one sacrifice. Le Guin mentions about a trapped child in a basement that “was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile though fear, malnutrition, and neglect” (349). The sacrifice of the one child is demanded by the city because they believe that as a result of the child’s misery it will make them appreciate their accountability and responsibility on life. They feel that if there is not a sacrifice, they will not understand the quality of life and humanity will fall apart. Similarly, the author also describes the Omelas people as a “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”(349). When the adults see the child, they feel angry, outraged and impotent. However, this became normal for them to see this particular suffering. All people need to be dehumanized for the benefit of the majority of the people. They need this sacrifice as a scapegoat against their own misery, in order for them to remain prosperous and happy. Without this sacrifice everyone and the city itself will feel pain. They rather have a child feel the pain for them.

The narrator sees that it is...
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