Study Questions #1: “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”
There is a huge difference between utopia and dystopia. Utopia literally means a place that does not exist. It describes an imaginary world; it is paradise; a place of pure bliss where nothing goes wrong. Dystopia is literally the opposite. It is a world that was once functioning but ends up horrible. Instead of the skies being clear and blue like in a utopian world, they are dark and dull. The cities are in ruins and the people are annoying and unfriendly. At first, it seems that utopia exists in Omelas. Ursula Le Guin starts the short story off with a beautiful description of the city, filling your mind with happiness and joy. She explains that in the city everything is perfect and everyone is happy. They had no slaves, no war, and no problems. They had “religion but no clergy” (3). They didn’t need it; just like they didn’t need soldiers because she explains that “the joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right kind of joy… it is fearful and it is trivial” (3). They could surely celebrate courage without soldiers. There is music and dancing and laughter. There is no guilt in Omelas. Although, they weren’t actually aloud to feel guilt in Omelas. In order to be happy and for them to not feel guilt, someone must suffer; there were terms to follow in order to have happiness. It actually turns into somewhat of a dystopian world in the end. There were times when a boy, girl, man or woman would go see the suffering child in the cellar and go home in silence: if they even went home at all. If they went home, they left soon to “walk down the street, alone, and out of the city of Omelas” (7). They walk into a dark path and do not come home. 2.
The narrator has compassion for the people in Omelas. Le Guin explains that “all the people of Omelas know it [the suffering child] is there. Some understand why, and some do not” (5). They understand though, that their happiness; the cities beauty; the...
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