The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Analysis

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Beautiful melodies flow through the city, welcoming the visitors and citizens to Omelas. The streets, houses and parks are glistening with joy. All seem peaceful and harmonized just like an utopian city. However, the more perfect a place seems the more negativity it hides, presenting a place of joy and happiness for all. 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). These images of appealing sights illustrated the perfect city that Omelas is. It is portrayed as an utopian city away from pain and fear since the city is full of music and life. However, Le Guin then expresses that there is a dark secret buried under the illusion of the utopian city, “[p]erhaps it [the child] was born defective or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect,” (3).
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