I do admire the people who walk away from Omelas because they are noble and brave. They refuse to accept the terms and conditions of happiness in Omelas. The happiness-of-the-many for the misery-of-one paradox is so unbalanced and immoral that they just could not accept it. Le Guin says that the Omalasian, “know that they, like the child, are not free.” They are brave because they run away from their prison of Omelas into the unknown. They are searching for a place the author admits may not exist. There may not be a society or a place where a scapegoat underclass does not exist, but that does not stop the ones who walk away from Omelas from searching for it.
I believe Le Guin is vague in her description of Omelas because details like its laws and its technology are not important to the overall messages of the story. In fact, any more details about Omalas could have hindered the story's message and may have been a distraction. If she described Omelas' laws, we could perhaps point to inequality in other parts of their culture and say that the misery of the child was only a fault of the founders or lawmakers of Omelas. The only way to make the city appear perfect to every reader is to invite each reader to fill in the details of the utopia to their liking. Enlisting readers to help paint the picture of Omelas was a attempt to make the city seem more real. The author was likely so descriptive of the child and its situation in order to leave no doubt that it was abused and wretchedly treated.
Omelas does not seem like a utopia to me. Utopias should be different. Every society has a scapegoat and Omelas is no exception. Also, like other societies, they accept the happiness-of-the-many for the misery-of-a-few paradox as a part of the reality of life, if only a little more directly than real life cultures. I believe a utopia should hold the promise of happiness for all, but Omelas falls short.
Le Guin primary and most powerful metaphor is the single child in...