Description Of The City Of Omelas Essay

Ursula Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Ursula LeGuin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Utopia is any state, condition, or place of ideal perfection. In Ursula LeGuin's short story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" the city of Omelas is described as a utopia. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" presents a challenge of conscience for anyone who chooses to live in Omelas.

Omelas is described by the narrator as the story begins. The city appears to be very likable. At times the narrator does not know the truth and therefore guesses what could be, presenting these guesses as often essential detail. The narrator also lets the reader mold the city. The narrator states the technology Omelas could have and then says "or they could have none of that: it doesn't matter. As you like it"(877). The method of letting the reader make the city the way he choose makes the city more desirable by him" Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all"(LeGuin 876). Now the reader might feel that the city is fictious. The narrator also asks the readers "Now do you believe in them?"(879) Asking if the reader believes what the narrator says about the festival, city, and joy of the people of Omelas implies that the reader should have doubts. Can the narrator be trusted by a reader who is being asked to approve the details of the story? Such questions raise doubts in the reader's mind about what the narrator is conveying.

With the help of the reader, the narrator makes Omelas appealing to everyone. "Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time"(LeGuin 876). Omelas does sound too good to be true. While the narrator is saying all that Omelas has and does not have, she says "One thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt"(877). The reader later finds out that all Omelas' happiness and joy depend on a child who is locked in a cellar. If the child were rescued from its cell, the whole city of Omelas would falter. The city's great happiness, is splendors and health, its architectural, music, and science, all are dependent upon the misery of this one child. The Omelas people know that if the child were released, then the possible happiness of the degraded child would be set against the sure failure of the happiness of many. The people have been taught compassion and the terrible reality of justice, and on this they base their lives. The city is without guilt, so the ones who stay in Omelas have no guilt that their happiness is because of one child's torture and pain. But there are some who walk away from Omelas. These are few, but they are the ones that have guilt. They could not live in a place, no matter how perfect, that thrives off a child's torment.

All of the narrator's questions invite the reader to place ;himself in the position of the people of Omelas. Do you need this to make you happy? Then you may have it. Once the...

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Omelas Literary Argument Essay

1170 WordsApr 13th, 20125 Pages

March 26, 2012
The Iron Curtain of Omelas The short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, written by Ursula Le Guin, is about a so-called perfect society where the sacrifice of a child is what provides harmony, equality, and prosperity to the citizens of this city. As a reader, one is invited to create and visualize their own utopia, so that one is emerged with the reality of a moral dilemma: the happiness of many for the unhappiness of one. The symbol represented in the story reflects current and past society issues such as military sacrifice, slavery, and injustice. The narrator describes the city of Omelas to have no king (president), political system, technology, weapons, or many of the things that currently permeate our…show more content…

As human beings, we strive for freedom, and as we see in both our world and the one in the story, no one is truly free. “They know that they, like the child, are not free,” writes the narrator, showing the reader that although the citizens apparently live “free” in a perfect society, inside their souls, they are not free. There are no slaves in this utopia, as described by the narrator, but in actuality, the child’s freedom is taken from it, similar to slavery. The child symbolizes slavery because it is not free and is a servant to all the citizens of Omelas. The narrator clearly gives the reader a contradiction stating, “…they did without…slavery,” but she fails to conclude that the child is a servant of Omelas as a slave is to its owner. The citizens of the city are described as equal, prosperous, and joyous, except for the child who is malnourished, mistreated, and confined. The child lives very much as slaves did in America, where the birth of a slave’s child was to become a slave and never to be freed. The filth and dirt on the bottom floor of the tiny prison where the child sleeps reflects what many slaves used to sleep in. Another symbol that reflects slavery in the story would be the smelly mops next to the rusty buckets in the corner of the dirty closet, which serves as a reminder the role the child has as a slave, as a servant to the people. The narrator tells the reader, “[i]t is afraid of the mops. It

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