Essay I: Short Fiction
In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and “The Lottery”, Ursula Le Guin and Shirley Jackson depict a seemingly perfect society built on dark secrets. In the story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, Omelas is a utopian city of happiness and delight, whose inhabitants are smart and cultured. Everything about Omelas is pleasing, except for the secret of the city: the good fortune of Omelas requires that a single unfortunate child be kept in perpetual filth, darkness and misery, and that all its citizens should be told of this when they come of age. After being exposed to the truth, most of the people of Omelas are initially shocked and disgusted, but are ultimately able to come to terms with the fact and
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It gives off an air of what can be interpreted as nervous excitement that soon is shown to be anything but. The story takes a turn for the dark side when it talks about the relief from the crowd when they or a child wasn’t chosen. It also is horrible in the fact that it says that “the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner?” They make sure that the stoning of a person to death isn’t inconvenient and delay mealtime; they’re more interested in making it home for dinner than being horrified at the fact that they just killed a person. Also the children take part in the stoning and are even encouraged to participate, “(t)he children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles”. In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and “The Lottery”, Ursula K. Le Guin and Shirley Jackson depict a seemingly perfect society but with a dark part. In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” a child must live in retched conditions so that the rest on the village could prosper and in “The Lottery” each year a person must be stoned to death to ensure bountiful rain. The way that the authors portray first a utopian society and then delve into the dark secrets of the societies create the great stories.
Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” Backpack Literature.