“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin is a short story based on the pursuit of Righteousness; in order to be truly happy, one must stand up for what is right, even if it means letting go of the familiar. The residents of Omelas have the choice to ignore a suffering of a child who is held captive in a cellar, or fight for what’s right and essentially leave their homes. What would one prefer: allow an innocent child to suffer certain death, or rid themselves of their comfort and leave their precious city of Omelas? This short story begins in the setting of a festival, explaining the beauty and comfortable feeling of Omelas. It is located next to the sea, and has a harbor with boats, broad green meadows, and is surrounded by mountains. The setting begins with a beautiful summer morning; the sun is shining, the temperature is warm, there is a light breeze in the air… it all seems so serene. The people of Omelas are dancing in a procession, down the city streets toward the Green Fields to watch the race. Every resident of Omelas is a protagonist: the child playing the flute at the Festival of Summer, the old woman passing out flowers, the young riders on the horses waiting for the race to start, and the people who feed the child and kick it to make it stand.
The child is locked in a cellar with very little bit of light coming through the cracks in the floor. There is one window, covered in cobwebs, across the room. The room has one door and it is always locked. The floor is made of damp dirt. It is dusty and foul smelling.
The story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” begins with a description of the city. It is a city with more happiness than can be imagined. The scene shifts to one of a child locked in the cellar. One reads of the isolation, neglect, abuse, and fear that this child suffers.
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