Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

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A social issue that is most times overlooked is the social issue of problems with social norms, which are defined as “the rules of behavior that are considered acceptable in a group or society. People who do not follow these norms may be shunned or suffer some kind of consequence.” (YourDictionary). Most social norms are in place so that society flows well and there is less deviant behavior, these being the ones that teach people what to say and how to act in a way that is acceptable. From birth, people are socialized to be able to be fully capable functioning human beings. However, there are some social norms such as violence in the media, turning a blind eye to cruelty, and socialization that negatively affect people and influence society…show more content…
Le Guin, the author paints a picture of a perfect society. But for this society to remain perfect, the people in Omelas treat one child terribly by locking it away in a closet. This treatment of the child became a social norm because it was good for the majority and only affected a small minority, the child. So, all of the other children in the society are brought to see the treatment of this child when they are “ready”. However, the parents can not know when their offspring are ready to see this kind of suffering. The citizens see the miserable child being violated and mistreated, but they do nothing because they care more about their own happiness than the child’s. The story ends with some people going against what was expected and walking away from the city leaving behind their homes. The story illustrates how hard it is to go against these established social norms. It does this by the people realizing the treatment of the child is wrong and walking away. The people show real courage going against something that they were taught was necessary, the suffering of the child, for the good life. This is a great example of how twisted socialization and social norms can…show more content…
An example of this is in the movie “The Mask You Live in”, the opening scene of the movie starts with Joe Ehrmann, a coach and former NFL player talking about his earliest memory with his father. He says that his father brought him into the basement and taught him how to fight. While in the basement, Joe’s father told him this “Be a man, stop with the tears, stop with the emotions, if you’re going to be a man in this world you better learn how to dominate and control people and circumstances.” Joe later says the phrase “be a man” is one of the most destructive phrases in American culture. This story illustrates the beginning of a long road of socialization for men like joe into becoming a figure of masculinity. Starting as young boys, men are expected to fight, and expected to fight with no emotions or tears. No one tells them “It’s okay to feel.” This is where society has it wrong. Society expects men to be stoic beasts instead of human beings. This process of socializing men to believe that they have to be aggressive or womanizing to be masculine is a social norm that has gotten far out of hand so much because it does not allow them to deal with their emotions which in turn affects society (The Mask You Live
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