Overcoming Ethical Issues In Society In “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

1499 words - 6 pages

People in society strive to find happiness in ones self, others and their community. What factors are there to obtain ultimate happiness in one’s life? What ethical decisions does one have to overcome to obtain this supreme happiness that every individual endeavours? The citizens of Omelas have a difficult time achieving the goal of making the right ethical decision. In exchange for their ultimate happiness and success, is one child’s misery. In order to live their “perfect” lives the citizens of Omelas must accept the suffering of the child. To make the right ethical decision is difficult, but necessary to end the injustice of the society. Failing to overcome the ethical issues in the city of Omelas is displayed through three different characters in the story. There are those who choose to ignore the situation, those who observe the child in misery, and those who feel that they must walk away. In the story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” characters fail to overcome the ethical issues in their society, and the reader is taught the importance of moral responsibility and the implications of the difficult task to make the right ethical decision.

In “ The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” the ones who choose to ignore and be ignorant are at fault for failing to overcome the proper ethical decision in the society of Omelas. It is expected of every citizen in Omelas to know that there is a child in misery for the people’s happiness. Those who are “content merely to know it is there” (Le Guin 971) are the ones who specifically choose to ignore the problem, and are content with living their perfect happy life knowing that a child is in misery in exchange for their happiness. There is a perception that not trying to think about morals, and not thinking about a solution to a problem in society, the problems will go away on their own. To be ignorant of the problems in society is regarded as a solution to fix them. The people who choose to ignore in the city of Omelas know that the child is there, and do not inquire how the problem could be fixed, taking into account personal happiness, happiness of others, and the happiness of the child. This puts them in a position of a bystander of the problem.

They all know that is has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness… Depend[s] wholly on this child’s misery” (Le Guin 971).

Personal happiness comes as a priority to the ones in Omelas, even if it is in exchange for the misery of a child. This is a ethical dilemma that the citizens fail to overcome properly. They choose to overcome this problem by ignoring the situation and hoping for the problem to solve on its own. By simply acknowledging that the child is there in misery is a requirement to live in Olmelas. To choose to ignore the situation is the decision of the individual, which eventually makes the problem worse than it was before. Moral responsibility and proper ethical decisions...

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