Omelas Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ashes743
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Deceit of the Utopia:
Analysis of “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. LeGuin What is one to make of the city of Omelas? It is a fantastical place so transcendental that the author herself struggles to properly detail its majesty. Omelas has everything— it is beautiful, technologically advanced, and bears no need for organized religion. The atmosphere is rich with music, festivities, and orgies. And even with all this excessive indulgence, the people manage to remain elite: expert craftsman in every art, scholars of the highest caliber, gentle mothers and fathers, and all-around good people. However, all this prosperity comes with a price. The success and happiness of Omelas stems from the immense and intentional suffering of one person: a small child who lives in a dark cellar and is continuously abused and neglected by the citizens. If the child were freed, it would supposedly lead to the destruction of this great city, therefore keeping it there is for the greater good. So who is to be pitied? LeGuinn presents us with a moral crossroads, a true question of ethics that is left open ended. Readers may interpret the text in many ways. They may choose to sympathize with the people of Omelas and agree with the narrator. Or, they may choose to make the revelation that there should be no happiness founded on the misery of others and blindness to truth, and if there is, that happiness is hollow. Omelasian morality seems to be based on the idealistic nature of their society. They see no sin in copulating randomly. It might even be encouraged, perhaps with the addition of drugs and alcohol. Take this line, “Let tambourines be struck above the copulations, and the glory of desire be proclaimed upon the gongs, and let the offspring of these delightful rituals be beloved and looked after by all.” (Le Guin 1550). From this we can…...

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