The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Essay

1089 Words Oct 31st, 2010 5 Pages
Analysis of Fiction Contemporary American culture is represented in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin. Omelas is a Utopian city which inhabits citizens who are pleased and content with their lives. It is described as happy, full of freedom and joy. However, this privilege of life comes at a price. In order for the people of Omelas to live this way, a child must be kept stowed away in a dark closet. Miserable and left to wallow in it's own filth, the citizens are told or even bear witness to the child's agony. After being exposed to the child, most of the citizens carry on with their lives, employing the cause of the child's unfortunate place in their society. Nobody knows where they go, but some do silently walk …show more content…
“They know compassion. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its existence,that makes possible the nobility of their architecture...They know that if the wretched one were not there snivelling in the dark, the other one, the flute-player, could make no joyful music as the young riders line up in their beauty for the race in the sunlight of the first morning of summer”(Le Guin 209). This example from the text shows that in both America and Omelas, the poor and underprivileged are often exploited and overlooked by the rich. Third world countries are seen as unlivable conditions to contemporary American citizens. Without this sense of atrositiy on the other side of the world, Americans would not feel content with having another culture beneath them. The Political system of American culture is seen in Omelas where the happiness of the majority rests on the misery of a powerless minority. Something must be victimized in order for Omelas and America to live in happiness. There is no reason for somebody to be victimized for something to exist. Le Guin or the narrator never gives a reason for this, only that “if the child were brought up into the sunlight out of the vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would

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