Analysis Of Ursula Leguin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

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The late Ursula LeGuin’s short story, “the Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” simplifies and deconstructs the world that we live in, through the allegory of a utopian society based off of the suffering of one individual. LeGuin poses an ethical dilemma wherein one can either leave Omelas and turn their back on their way of living or stay and reap the benefits of the abuse of one. They all understand that, “their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children,” and much more, “depend wholly on this child's abominable misery” (LeGuin, 3). Plato’s allegory of the cave best exemplifies the notion that for some, ignorance is bliss, no matter what the truth may be. This concept can also be attributed to the ones who choose to stay in Omelas. As the freed man who…show more content…
To the ones who stay and live in contingent bliss, the ones who leave are ruined by harsh truth. It is easy to stay in the cave and be decidedly ignorant of one’s surroundings as long as it is seemingly a utopia. Utilitarian’s, however, believe that not only is this not the work of ignorance, but that it is the right thing to do. This one child’s suffering is vastly outweighed by the pleasure of the entire town of Omelas. The math is simple: one versus many. Because Utilitarian’s believe that, “our prime ethical obligation is to choose the action available to us that is likely to create the greatest balance of good effects over negative effects,” the problem of Omelas is not even a problem, and those of the Utilitarian mindset would gladly stay (Binder, 2). Some people, however, walk away. Even though they cannot fix the problem, they can absolve themselves of guilt and eliminate themselves from the equation altogether. This closely aligns with Kantian thinking, because our intrinsic human
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