Professor Jung Lee
02 Nov. 2017
Bullying the Weak: Comparison of Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
Is it wrong to accept the fruit of someone else’s suffering? Most people today continue to eat meat and dairy, even when these people are aware of the misery these helpless and innocent animals experience. Humans bully the vulnerable for their own pleasure. In both stories, the narrators romanticize the societies, but to maintain this euphoric state an individual must severely suffer. The differences of “The One’s Who Walk Away from Omela”, by Ursula K. Le Guin and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson appear to be rather minor, when comparing the startling similarities.
A substantial similarity is that both stories start off as bright and happy environments. Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” describes the town as “boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet” (258). In the same fashion as Jackson’s “The Lottery” who expresses “the flowers were blossoming profusely, and the grass was richly green” (263) These images suggest a dreamy visual. Then, the other half of these stories takes an insidious turn.
Another preeminent similarity is that the child in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and Tess Hutchison in “The Lottery” are the victims that make the sacrifices. Guin addresses the “fear, malnutrition, and neglect” this powerless child endures, while living in a filthy cage. Jackson’s vivid imagery of the townspeople stoning Tess to death is equally inhumane. Comparatively, factory farm animals encounter similar practices. For example, an American scholar addresses, “How can it ever be okay to chop off an animal's tail without anesthesia, lock it in a cage so tight it cannot turn around, toss live male chicks into a grinder, or jam an electric prod into a cow's anus...” (McWillams). These rituals stem from a dark place...