The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Critical Lens Essay

2012 Words9 Pages
Darkness Behind the Light
The stories “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin and the play Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’ Neill show that there is darkness behind happiness. Both stories display this by having a paradise like setting that no one is content in. Both stories start off with a utopian tone, then slowly descend into a more unpleasant feeling. No character ever truly solves their problem and sadness, but rather they try to find a quick and easy solution to find temporary happiness. Ultimately, the characters in the two stories learn that happiness has its own price attached to it.
In “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” the story takes place in a community full of carefree people. The story starts off in a festival, a time of celebration. We can see that the people do enjoy themselves as the story describes “merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. In other streets, the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a
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Instead of working hard to achieve joy that involves everyone, they would rather let one child suffer so everyone else can live in an easy to achieve a comfortable life. As the narrator explains says “To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.” (Guin 4) People choose to let one person suffer so they can keep their beautiful Omelas instead of trying to help the kid and possibly building their own Omelas without the need of completely ruining the life of one person. As Don D’Ammassa puts it “The implication is that the vast majority of people are perfectly willing to overlook an injustice if it contributes to their own personal comfort.”
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