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Omelas: Pleasantry Or Atrocity Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

The short story ‘‘Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’’ by Ursula Le Guin describes a utopian society based on the suffering and mistreatment of an unfortunate child. Omelas reflects contemporary North American society, in its claim to being an idyllic society built on the foundation of pain, which is discussed, firstly by an analysis of Omelas and the child, then a contrast analysis of contemporary North American society and the third world sweatshop workers and finally by the perspective of both society regarding the irony of situation which shows that there is no such thing called utopia.
Omelas is described as a city in a fairy tale. It is a city towered by sea and encircled by mountains and has a cheerful sweetness of the air. It has beautiful public buildings and spacious private homes with red roof and painted walls, magnificent farmer markets, green parks and avenues of trees. Omelas is a very prosperous city. It has every bit of luxury, comfort and exuberance that it can offer its residents. Even in the text it is urged to imagine Omelas: “O miracle! but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you. Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time. Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all” (Le Guin; Page-2). People from other towns come to Omelas during festivals. It is a centre of attraction to all. The people in Omelas are happy people. They are religious but not dogmatic. They are independent and have freedom to do whatever they want. They do not use swords or keep slaves. They have the sense of victory and celebration of courage. As a whole Omelas is described as a “communion with the finest and fairest in soul of men” (Le Guin; Page-3). But the beautiful “utopian” city of Omelas is based on the suffering of a child. It is kept locked in a basement cellar. The room has no windows but a locked door without any light and dirty floor. In this small filthy room the people of Omelas keeps that unfortunate child. It is about ten but looks like six due to malnutrition. It is so thin that its’ calves are barely visible. It seats on his excrement. Sometimes few people of Omelas would come and give it some food, would kick it and feel disgusted. In the text it is described as:
They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery (Le Guin; Page-5).
All those happy and intelligent people of Omelas know about the child and they accept the fact that one human, just as important as any other, must be dehumanized for the benefit of the...

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