The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Analysis

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In Ursula Le Guin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," an idealistic town is delineated where everybody lives in a consistent condition of joy. Le Guin stresses that these people are not simple or ignorant, yet they are never afflicted with the worry and distress common in the real world. However, the utopian nature of the town and its prosperity depend on the miserable condition of one small child. This child lives alone in a little closet, deprived of love and understanding. Physically, the child is undernourished, and is constantly hungry. Every inhabitant of Omelas is required to see the child at one point, usually during their early teenage years, and know of its miserable existence. And, the people know that their utopia…show more content…
They may feel sympathy for the child at first, but then this grows into a sickness that overcomes them. The people who choose to leave Omelas are possessors of a strong human emotion that cannot exist in a utopia. That emotion is guilt. With guilt, a person cannot be completely happy. Therefore, the people who experience guilt are faced with a problem and must do something to solve that problem. They can walk away from the town and ensure the happiness of the people, or they can help the child, knowing the town of Omelas will forever change. In the story, everyone who experiences guilt walks away, leaving the town intact. It is obvious that no option in this situation is without flaw. To leave the town would mean self-sacrifice for the benefit of Omelas. To stay would mean self sacrifice for the benefit of the child. To do nothing would be impossible, because one cannot stay in Omelas unless one is perfectly happy. It is certainly not an easy…show more content…
In any society, some people must be more unhappy than others. This fact cannot be avoided. When someone drives through a McDonald's, they are happy to have the convenience of fast food, while the employees must suffer to some degree. And, the McDonald's employees may be happy to have a job, which is related to the misery of those who want jobs. These differences in levels of happiness occur in varying degrees. However, the difference in the level of happiness between people can be lessened through a number of actions by society in general. The town of Omelas is an extreme situation, in which the people are completely happy, and the child is completely miserable. The real world cannot produce such a situation because no one is completely happy. To be in a state of constant bliss goes against human nature. This fact, that complete happiness is unattainable, acts as a support for my decision to free the child. In the same light, complete misery is both unattainable and undesirable, and should be
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