A Fine Line
Imagine a perfect morning—no alarm clocks or neck cricks—just fresh coffee brewing and a nice bacon breakfast. But could this fit every individual’s description of a perfect morning? Of course the no alarm clocks and neck cricks sound nice; however, a vegetarian would easily reject this particular view of a perfect morning. This subjective idea parallels both LeGuin’s and Vonnegut’s warped examples of constant happiness and equality in a society. Ursula K. LeGuin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergergon” both illustrate a blinded utopia where a seemingly good idea results in an undesirable outcome. Though only a few characters grasp this concept, these stories clearly show the ideology of extremes—good and bad—imposing a negative impact on a society.
Omelas is a utopia full of all things pleasurable. If they want a simple life, live in Omelas. If they desire the finer things in life—inventive technologies, live music, public orgies—live in Omelas. Since the community of Omelas holds a strong understanding of “what is necessary,” “what is destructive,” and what is neither, they can live in harmony without suffering, war, and discrimination. The “mature, intelligent, [and] passionate” adult citizens naturally raise their children in abundant happiness (2). As Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson would say, the citizens of Omelas are “happy, happy, happy”. This is an extreme scenario in which the idea of everlasting happiness sounds perfect but is inevitably impossible without some type of sacrifice.
Although “the people of Omelas are happy people”, it is at the utmost expense of one abused child. The small child of Omelas “is feeble-minded…perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect” (LeGuin). Although this story conveys an extremely hypothetical situation, there are some similarities with the existing American society. Today in order to obtain more...
Cited: LeGuin, Ursela. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.12th ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson-Longman.
Vonnegut, Kurt. “Harrison Bergeron.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 1th ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson-Longman.
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