Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walks Away From Omelas Essay
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This is a very creative story with a lot of hidden meanings of how the writer views the world. She started off with a very creative description of the settings and the people of Omelas. The joyous mood in the atmosphere depicts the seemingly carefree and elated feelings of the people. Their dressings imply how comfortable their lives were and how well the children were taken care of. Throughout the story, the writer uses questions to effectively stir up the interest of the readers before proceeding to explain her views of the issues mentioned in the questioned.
One such example is when she asks, “How is one to tell about ‘joy’?”
This is then followed by her explanations of what she thinks ‘joy’ actually is. In this way, the readers will be encouraged to think of the issue as well. The writer also uses repetition to enforce an idea and this will also help to build up the readers’ expectations of what is to come, for example, the phrase “Given a description such as this one tends to …” is written twice consecutively in the same paragraph.
In this story, the writer seems to be comparing the people of a rural world to a modernized society.
I think she is criticizing the definition of ‘happiness’ in the minds of people today. She probably feels that people today are not able to appreciate a simple life and must instead achieve joy only in the form of material needs. In the later part of the story, it seems to depict people as being self-centred and greedy. They see the need to inflict misery upon somebody else in order to achieve happiness. The writer has effectively contrasted the agony of the locked-up child with the people’s happiness and how no one was willing to help the child, despite its pleas. It shows the uncaring and self-centeredness of the people today and the writer seems to be greatly against it.
Why did the narrator suggest that there should not be any soldiers in Omelas? Ans: She does not want any more war or bloodshed in the country that she was living in.
What does that imply about the society that she was living in? Ans: It implies that her society is constantly under the control of soldiers, despite the superficial appearance of peace in Omelas. It might even have just gone through a period of war.
What do the different reactions by the people who visited the child suggest? Ans: For those who cried after seeing the locked child, it suggests that despite disagreeing with the treatment of the child, they were unable to help because of their fear of losing what they possess. These people are more concerned with their own lives and fear changes. As for the ones who had the courage to walk away from Omelas, it implies that they had enough of the inequality and had woken up from their ideal world. They were ready for a change.