The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Critical Analysis

1000 Words4 Pages
Societies are a collection of individuals and function based on the accepted norms and rules that are constructed by those in power. While the majority of those people fit within the societal conventions, there are those who do not fit into the accepted parameters, and they either fight against custom or quietly suffer at the ideals of the majority. The people who become isolated by the very societies that they live in are often faced with willful indifference or ignorance; such as woman afflicted with mental illness or a child that hurts so others can prosper. In the stories “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin, the conflict is driven by characters that are both physically…show more content…
In the story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” the person who suffers being isolated by society is the small child in the locked room under one of the beautiful buildings in Omelas. The people of Omelas are all aware of this child, but continue to ignore its plight because their prosperous lives “depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery,” (Guin 445) and they allow this child to endure that hardship so that they can appreciate their affluence. The citizens of Omelas are described as “not simple folk, you see, though they were happy,” (Guin 443) and are intelligent and cultured; however, the child in the basement is “feeble-minded,” possibly “born defective,” (Guin 445) has no concept of time, and finds fear in simple objects such as the mop. The descriptions of the perceived intelligence of the citizens and the child highlights the fundamental differences in what the society sees as good and what it believes should be hidden away from view. Unlike almost every other character that is brought up in the story, the child is not given a gender, further removing it from the norms of society. The small room that contains the child is a literal prison: it is small, dark, and isolated; with the child being left naked and sitting in its own excrement – waiting to be fed a meager meal each day. The physical separation and the conception that the child is locked away for the betterment of the rest of the population isolates the child so severely that it could never be integrated into the society of
Open Document