In Ursula Le Guin's short story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" the city of Omelas is described as a place made up of a almost perfect society, keep in mind how I said “almost perfect”. A utopian city, Omelas during the Festival of Summer, is characterized by its happiness and perfection. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" presents a challenge of conscience for anyone who chooses to live in Omelas. With the backstory of this joyous and peaceful city comes a sinister consequence in which leaves those who live in the town of Omelas to choose to walk away or live with their barbaric reasoning for peace. Omelas is described by the narrator as the story begins.
Through the short story, Le Guin gives the reader the question: would you be able to live in a utopia knowing that there is a young child suffering for your happiness? Le Guin tells the reader that one should not be able to live in a perfect utopia (Omelas) knowing that the citizens are having to abuse a young child and rip him of his innocence just for the sake of their own happiness. Some may say that the central conflict for “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas” is man versus man because it is the people of Omelas against the young boy in the closet. However, I would disagree. I believe the central conflict of the story is man versus society.
In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” Le Guin uses contrasting pleasant and dismal imageries to illustrate the paradox of the “utopian” city. The images expose the bitter reality of the city and the change of attitude of the citizens by giving a comparison of the city’s jovial life and the child’s miserable life. In addition, Le Guin uses Omelas as a warning to inform us about our potential future when we plan to reach Utopia even at the cost of others’ suffering. Omelas is a city created to represent a paradise with wonder and pleasure. Le Guin describes, “[i]n the silence of the broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets, ... a cheerful faint sweetness of the air… the great joyous clanging of the bells,” (1).
To kick the comparisons off we will first be looking at the literary elements present in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. The most prominent literary elements present in this story, as stated in the opening paragraph, are: tone, point of view, and symbols. The tone that is adopted in this story is one of eeriness and also poetic in how the town of Omelas and that of its denizens are characterized. The town of Omelas is described in a very fairy like manner, “The air of the morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white gold-fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the dark blue of the sky” from these descriptions it is not unreasonable to suggest that the quality of life for the citizens of Omelas to be very high. With the spring festival underway
“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is a short story that triumphantly manages to twist a joyous mood into a dark and unfathomable sensation. Ursula K. Le Guin, uses multiple elements and successfully implemented these elements into certain aspects of folklore. There are two specific elements that are most noticeable in the story. The first element is atmosphere and the second element is theme. The first element that Le Guin uses successfully is atmosphere.
In other terms, Guin is letting us know that the sky is clear as glass, allowing the sunlight to beam directly on Omelas. Guin allows us to paint a picture of exactly what Omelas looks like. By reading this metaphor we can picture a clear blue sky with the sunlight directly gleaming on Omelas with its “white-gold” flame. The use of these metaphors in the introduction of “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, shifts the readers towards a more positive and Utopian setting. “The crowds along the racecourse are like a field of grass and flowers in the wind.” (Lines 85-86, Guin.)
Nothing in the world is perfect. In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, LeGuin Ursula shows how Omelas is a pictured a utopia, but there is its one flaw in their basement. LeGuin’s persuades throughout the story of Omelas that wherever there is light there is darkness. Within The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, LeGuin uses multiple points of views and would sometimes ask the reader questions midway through the story. Through the word choices and diction used, LeGuin makes the sentence powerful.
Le Guin’s philosophical short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” brings to light the unvarnished truth of how society’s success is fundamentally based on the unceasing sufferings of others in order for the greater majority to prosper. Similarly to how Kanye West says in his song “Take One for the Team,” “Your girl a queen, my girl a thing, you know what though, I’ma take this one for the team;” this can be related to the situation of the one suffering child in Omelas. The feebly neglected child hidden away from the populace is starved to only half a bowl of cornmush a day, can barely speak, and is abandoned to continuously hunker in gruesome conditions of its own feces and filth. The emaciated child is involuntarily forced to take one
Another short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, written by LeGuin, explores the city of Omelas which everyone is happy or on the outside may look like their are, but hides an ugly truth to why everyone is happy. The few that can’t bare the knowledge behind the happy city chooses to walk away from it never looking back again. These short stories have a couple literary terms that contribute to the theme of both the stories which is the plot, setting, irony and symbolism. Jackson done a marvelous job in his short story applies the literary term plot and symbolism to make the story compelling and to give the readers suspenseful turn near the end. The exposition is the lottery itself and how it’s traditional for those folks, but later goes into depth further along in the story.
And then he flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body, and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that, he went up to the hillside." And in the Polish/German version from the article "The three goats" this is what happens, "This goat said nothing in return, but instead, brave and forward as he was, lowered his horns and gave the wolf such a blow that he fell from the cliff into the chasm below and broke his right leg. And there the poor rascal lay. He wanted the biggest and fattest mouthful, but instead got nothing but pain." Another similarity is