In the short stories “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson the characters in the stories show people living in a perfect place at first glance. Although looking deeper into the setting, theme, and symbols of "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and "The Lottery" the short stories will show the reader a deeper meaning in the author’s writing. At the beginning of the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” Guin portrays a beautiful summer day on which a festival is taking place. During the festival,
We learn of the character, character in the sense of both physical and psychological, which is sacrificed in order to achieve this utopia, this perfection. In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, it is the characters and setting that make this story a dark and profound story of what we will or will not do for the pursuit of happiness, security and serenity. At first, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas could be perceived as a travel guide written by Rick
In the middle of a beautiful city, a magnificent Summer Festival is taking place, with delicious food, playing children, and a glorious parade. Everyone in town is celebrating, apart from one child. In Ursula Le Guin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", a dark secret lies under the streets of an alluringly utopian town called Omelas. Moreover, Karl Shapiro's poem, "Auto Wreck" discusses the events of a devastating car crash, while analyzing the mechanical and biological events that follow. Although they differ in style, both works explore the themes of innocence and guilt as they question justice and morality.
Throughout the epic, violence is evident in the actions and the decision making of the characters in order to obtain peace. The battles and suicides throughout the story are prevalent and gruesome, while moments of peace are minor and fleeting. The characters, whether man or god, result to violence as a primary way to manage their problems. Aeneas is strong, heroic, and seems calm; however, he does not receive true peace and calmness until he has killed his enemy, Turnus, to end the battle and avenge his friend, Pallas. Nonetheless, Aeneas is a noble character who overcomes bad odds and embodies Roman ideals, including violence.
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.
As a result, the reader is forced to see the flaws of Omelas’ social and political structure. Shaky societal structures, such as Omelas’, are a key element in dystopian elements. Le Guin includes the supposedly perfect structure, with the one exception of the suffering child, to supply the reader with a vivid example of how a society can be blindly corrupt, with its members doing nothing to stop
However depending on the severity of an outcome Humans have a responsibility to put others above themself. In the short story, The Ones Who Walked Away, the society 's happiness comes at the cost of a child. “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” (Le Guin). The story uses the idea of society versus the individual must make sacrifices for the good of
Rather than settle with the others and live in an immoral society, they choose another path. They literally walk away from the fake utopia and go out into the unknown. The narrator says, “The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness” (253). The traveler, “each alone” (253), continues to walk away from Omelas with purpose. The beautiful, radiant and familiar life is left behind while they face an uncertain destiny.
In this quick introduction to the child, Guin explains to readers that the people of Omelas aren’t as perfect as they seem and that they, like everyone else, have secrets that no one would expect to be true. It is when Guin further explains the child to readers, that readers can see the purpose of the child “they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child 's abominable misery” (Guin 764). Although the people of Omelas know of the suffering child, they simply ignore it because they believe that the suffering of the child allows the city to be perfect and the citizens happy. This perception of control the people of Omelas have over their happiness, is very dangerous not only to the child but the other children of Omelas as well. This tradition puts a fear into the mothers and children of Omelas because they never know whether or not their child will be chosen next as the town’s sacrifice.