Themes In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

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The Lack of Narrator Credibility in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula LeGuin
“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula LeGuin is narrated by an unreliable narrator, which results in storyworld contradictions, and both intentional and unintentional misdirection. The world of Omelas is presented as one that drastically shifts according to the narrators will. The lack of rules in the beginning of the text illustrates the characters as peaceful and content who have set morals. As such an idealistic utopia is difficult to accept, the narrator feels forced to conform to the cynicism of the narratees in order to make the story seem more believable and furthermore, to make herself sound more reliable. The storyworld drastically shifts
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The fourth wall is what separates the audience from the action on stage. By speaking directly to the narratee the narrator effectively breaks the fourth wall of the narrative, however, this is not to say she is reliable in the story she tells. Though a seemingly plot-less story (Scoville Lecture 3), the series of events and in turn, climax, fall onto the narrator herself. The narrator struggles to convince the narratee to believe in the world she is trying to describe throughout the whole narrative. She begins by saying “How can I tell you about the people of Omelas” (LeGuin 6)? How reliable a narrator is, is incredibly important as it determines whether or not the intended reader is willing to believe the narrative and the storyworld. The narrator in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” is very self conscious of how she tells the story and constantly worries about the reader. As her main goal is for the intended reader to believe her story, she allows the narratee to pick and chose certain details of the narrative. This causes subtle contradictions within the story. She acknowledges that Omelas may strike “some of [the narratees] as goody-goody” (LeGuin 6). In response to this, she allows the narratee to add details to the world as they please, offering “add an orgy. If an orgy would help” (LeGuin 6). She contradicts her offer to the narratee by then restricting what …show more content…
The narrator in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” proved over and over again to be unreliable. Through her desperation to be believed and tell a believable story, she allowed for multiple small and large contradictions to occur. The narrator is not incompetent, but she was careless in the way she presented the story. The malleability of the storyworld and its rules allowed for all the contradictions to occur thus discrediting the narrator. As the narrative is one that illustrates two extremes of which neither is appealing, the intended reader is left with nothing; a utopia that does not exist and a false utopia that no one would wish to exist. In the end, the fictional people who walk away from a fictional land of Omelas become a reality. Real people walk away from a fictional story with only the dreadful thoughts left behind to ponder

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