Analysis Of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

2177 Words9 Pages
Dorothy Chang WRI 340 Dr. Feuer Spring 2014 This is my essay “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” is a short story depicting the utopian society of Omelas. “Omelas” was written by sci-fi author, Ursula K. Le Guin, and won a Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction the year following its publication. A plot-less story, “Omelas” features a strong narrative voice that presents to readers a compelling ethical dilemma-- the perfect happiness of everyone in Omelas is reliant on keeping one small child in a perpetual state of torment. When Omelans come of age, they visit this child and are educated about its existence. They then make a decision on whether to stay in Omelas, knowing that the happiness of the city rests upon the suffering of an innocent victim, or to walk away from Omelas forever. While “Omelas” has certainly received abundant literary and academic recognition, most critical studies of the story reduce the text to a one-dimensional moral parable warning against the evil of scapegoating and basing prosperity and happiness on the exploitation of others. This is because critics and non-critic audiences alike have predominantly read “Omelas” from a cultural lens that favors Protestant theodicy, which is still strong in American society. This theodicy presents the world in terms of binary oppositions, such as good and evil, happy and sad. Borrowing from this framework, critics have assigned moral value to the two types of Omelans featured in the story: the ones who stay and the ones who walk away, the latter making the morally and socially correct choice. Consequently, resulting scholarly analyses presume that goodness looks a certain way (some form of rejection or walking away from evil). At first glance, this consensus view ... ... middle of paper ... ...f those who walk away, the fundamental notion that Le Guin and her narrator favor the walkers does not ultimately stand true based on the reading of the text. Instead, readers are pushed to rise above our limited perspectives of what is right and wrong, and make the uncomfortable decision to stay in Omelas. What “Omelas” proposes is that utopia is not achieved via a perfect social science. Humanity progresses when it learns by means of its inherent differences and oppositions. Happiness does not necessarily mean a comforting conclusion that answers all the questions and ties up all the loose ends. Rather, happiness is not a fixed and realized end in itself. The world of the Omelans is one of subjective and socially constructed truths that sometimes exist without logical explanation and in direct contradiction of one another. Coincidentally, it is our world as well.

More about Analysis Of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Open Document