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Living out Omelas

In Le Guin s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, we find ourselves faced with a moral dilemma. What is it that we as people base our happiness on? The idea of societal and personal happiness is played out through the analogy of Omelas and the abandoned child. In this story, we are drawn into Le Guin s world by use of her vivid descriptions.

Le Guin pulls us into Omelas with her first phrase with a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring. From here she intricately weaves a pattern of plot and theme which she draws upon throughout the entire story. We are initially given to a blissful, almost jubilant, Omelas. We picture the houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees. We aren t given names or descriptions of these people, so that we may relate to them as the every person. Yet it comes to an end. Theme and plot collide into one sentence. The crux of Omelas. Le Guin asks if one can truly believe in Omelas. The reader finds himself/herself asking if the first part of the text is truly conceivable. The theme then takes over asking if one could accept the conditions that Omelas happily lives under. The plot then allows enough room for the reader to imagine the living conditions under which the child lives in with a little light seeping in dustily between cracks in the boards.

The characters, though not drawn out in much detail, have such personalities as to make them recognizable in our own lives. Le Guin utilizes broad terms such as the youths and girls, the merry women, old people and master workmen. By using general identities for these characters, we…

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