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The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas (Essay Sample)


Of the several questions posed in Le Guin’s story, one of the most pressing is whether an ideal society can survive under the yolk and suffering of others. There are many historical examples of this such as the United States’ use of slaves, the Russian question regarding serfdom, and Hitler’s ethnic cleansing. We must therefore ask ourselves the question: can a society be ideal when you have at least one person suffering?
In a well though-out essay, take a stand in response to the work of Le Guin. You may wish to compare and contrast the historical examples referenced earlier to Omelas. Or you may wish to write a response responding to the suffering of one in order to serve and perpetuate happiness for everyone else. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself as you frame an argument in response to Le Guin’s work:
What type of society is Omelas?
Why do some citizens desert Omelas?
What is the place that is “even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness?
What is your reaction to this story?
3 pages; please do not exceed 3 pages
12 point font, Times New Roman
Double spaced
A thoughtful title
Use of appropriate quotes from text
Use of proper MLA format


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“The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas (1973)” by Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin’s fictitious story leaves readers with one of the most pressing questions as to whether an ideal society can survive under the burden and misery of others. During the annual celebration of the Festival of Summer, the citizens of the idyllic city of Omelas are convinced that the prosperity of their city largely depends on the perpetual suffering of a single child. Le Guin opens the story with a scene where the inhabitants of the city are in a joyous mood, and their happiness and tranquility depends on the suffering of the one child. For those who choose the child to survive, they had to desert Omelas and relocate to a new city. Notable historical examples similar to the case in utopian city of Omelas have taken place such as slavery in the United States, Hitler’s notorious actions of ethnic cleansing, and the Russian issue in regards to serfdom. In the response to the work of Le Guin, this paper compares and contrasts Hitler’s ethnic cleansing to Omelas and draws conclusions that in an ideal society, a single person or group should not pay the price for the utter happiness and joy of the rest of the people.
The city of Omelas is a fictitious utopian city that Le Guin narrates about in her story “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas (1973)”. Omelas is a simmering city with inhabitants filled with delight and happiness, but its constant state of tranquility and glory will require that a single unfortunate child be subjected to perpetual misery and darkness. As the citizens learn about the importance of the ordeal, they ultimately comply with the kind of injustice that is devised to secure the happiness of the city. However, some of the citizens, both young and old later leave the city, but none knows their destination as the narrator mentions towards the end of the story that those disgusted about the misery of the child and silently walk away from Omelas go to less imaginable place to other village dwellers than the city of happiness. The place is less imaginable since the inhabitants of Omelas do not ima

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