I do not think the narrator lives in Omelas, because of the way he compares their society to ours, and “them” to “us. ” He also never includes himself in his descriptions of them, although that begs the question: how does he know them so intimately if not for having been there? The Omelas society is utopian, intelligent, compassionate, respectful, having no need for law, or clergy, beautifully built; the list goes on. Everything is perfect, all except the hidden child. It seems that the narrator sympathizes with the people of Omelas and understands the quandary they are in.
He points out the countless good the citizens do in order to counteract the one terrible hidden blight on their society. He practically states that the reason they ARE so good collectively and what makes it such an amazing place to be is the fact that they do share this knowledge of the child’s torment. It does not seem as though the author shares this sentiment of sympathy, and she wants the reader to abhor what is taking place in Omelas and proclaim we would walk away.
The narrator views the one who walk away with incredulity. He cannot even begin to describe where it is they go towards, believing it would be even harder to imagine than Omelas. I do not think he could have been one who walked away from Omelas. He seems very resigned to the belief that idealism should be set aside for pragmatism. The willingness of the author to allow us to add any details we like to her story is added to help us visualize its possibility.
These minute details don’t change the bones of the story or the meaning behind the words, they simply help us add to the visual picture in our heads. The desolate room the forsaken child resides in is the basis that the entire utopian and beautiful Omelas society rests itself on. The fact that the coming of age of each member of their society is hinged upon their realization of the child and even more tragic viewing of said child is very symbolic. In today’s world we are slowly made aware that not all are provided the luxuries that many of us are lucky to experience.
We also generally learn to live with this knowledge, shove it aside and continue on with our lives. We have come to accept that the needs of the many outweigh the few. Some of us, like those who walk out of Omelas choose to stand up against injustices and walk away from it all. Many more of us use justifications as they did, believing that even if the child was let out it would never really live a meaningful life but instead be bound by fear and the mental anguish of its past in the cellar.
Courtney from Study Moose
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