Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The One's Who Walk Away from Omelas

       The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is a short seemingly utopian work written by Ursula Le Guin. It starts off by describing this mystical land of Omelas. It is said to have souring swallows and a chorus of bell. All the people are walking around enjoying their lives. The children are running around naked in the wind and enjoying themselves, while the music is playing all around. All of this drives home what she is trying to portray, the world is perfect for everyone. After that the narrator starts to talk about the citizens. This is done by saying  that the citizens of Omelas are not oblivious and simple. The understand what is going on. They don't have kings, slaves, violence, or anything else with a negative connotation. The narrator then asks if we believe in Omelas. Here is where Omelas takes a turn form what they are trying to portray the whole time.
Under Omelas is a basement somewhere below the floor of the city. In that basement there exists a room, and in that room there is no window, there is just one door that leads in or out. Within the room there is a child, the gender is unspecified, the age is also unspecified, it is malnourished and seems to be suffering. It no longer talks because, if it screams it knows no one will come and help. Periodically people come in and kick the child or just look at it. The ones who normally do this are children about the age of 12. Those who see it are leave crying or angry, some on the other hand do nothing for days or even weeks and just walk alone for a while until they eventually leave Omelas. The purpose for this child being here seems to be that, if you want to stay in Omelas, you need to follow their rules or this will also happen to you.
This short passage through this utopian city was written by Ursula Le Guin who was born in 1929. During this time was the start of the Wall Street Crash which did not recover until the mid 30’s. The time period she grew up in seems to have played a large role in understanding why this story in particular takes such a drastic change midway through. By this I mean that, in her childhood there must have been people that she saw were suffering so she may have created a perfect city where everyone knew what was actually happening underneath them and still putting on a happy face.
Some parts of this city are actually utopian. They include asking the reader if they can believe the world and if it is missing anything, they can just add it in, but the main focus of this work seem to show that under the utopian city there is suffering. People are living a happy life while one young child is continuously taking their burden upon themselves (even if they don't want to), and is just suffering until their inevitable death. This child is had been in here so long it does not even try to escape or ask for help anymore, it just sits there and does nothing. The point of this child being here is not just to torture it, it seems to be there to allow people to see what happens if they do not comply with the rules in the city of Omelas. It is said that everyone knows that the child is there, and when they see the child they want to help it. Then when they think about it they understand that if the child were to be helped by someone and allowed to be seen by others, it would be better for the child. On the other hand it would destroy everything that Omelas is, the utopian city that it once was will no longer exist. Then everyone eventually debates if the should save the child or just leave them there in hopes of preserving everyone's happiness.
The elderly are described as wearing mauve robes. When looking at this very close and examining the personals life it is fine and does not play much of a role but, when zooming out and looking at the entire population it is just a sea of a very gloomy color, where no one is different from one another. The people are also described as having stoic eyes. All of this does not seem bad when looking close up at one persons life, it is not until early you zoom out and look at the population of Omelas as a whole that you understand that they are all the same. They are not actually enjoying their lives, they are just putting on a face of enjoyment to blend it with the others. They are just a horde of people who follow their lives in order to live in Omelas.
Overall this short passage is just what it says, it is a passage through Omelas, you do not spend to much time in it, you just go deeper and deeper in to the city until you end up leaving. In the beginning it is very physical in the sense that they were only describing the people and their outwards appearance and demeanor. Then it completely changes gets to a more psychological point of view where we see the dark secrets underneath Omelas.

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