The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
In “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” author Ursula K. Le Guin uses the utopian society of Omelas to symbolically highlight the ugly and unsavory state of the human condition. This story delves into this idea of ethics and morality and concocts a set of solutions that one can consider when contemplating ethics and morality. People and societies often struggle with morality while facing dilemmas with what is right or wrong. Within this, a moral dilemma exists as the story depicts a utopian perfect happy place where everyone is in a state of euphoria.
People were described in this story as a cheerful community celebrating a summer festival. This insinuates how Omelas is very much like a utopian place where everyone relishes in infinite happiness. Nevertheless, all these comforts are made permissible in exchange for an unfortunate condition: that a child shall endure isolation and suffering, locked up in what appears to be a cupboard in an unspecified room within Omelas.
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The salient descriptions used to express the child’s predicament gives an image of a deprived, unloved, and underfed being.
Le Guin embodies a society which follows consequential ethics where the majority of the people assume that the treatment of the child is correct, equitable, and ethical since it garners the benefits of happiness to the rest of the city. Moreover, only one is adversely affected while the majority gains the greatest share of happiness. Therefore Omelas is the quintessential of utilitarianism. According to this doctrine, all people endeavor to be happy and strive to satiate themselves.
The problem lies in the fact that the bulk of the society are habituated to comply to the social norms. Such a case is elucidate in Omelas through “the misery of the child is good…everybody tolerates it…it was tolerated ever since” for they are influenced by culture and tradition. After some time, they tend to move on and “their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it (Omelas 122).
” Nonetheless, there is a minor segment of the society who refrain from succumbing and formulate their own perception of what is right and wrong i. e morality. However those who do contend against the ethics leaves to find a society that is better suited to their train of thoughts. This notion is exemplified in Omelas through the quotation “They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back (Omelas 123). ” where some people disgusted by what they have seen decide that departure is the best solution.
The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas is a short story based on the pursuit of righteousness; in order to be truly happy, one must stand up for what is right, even if it means letting go of the familiar. Omelas is a place that seems like an ideal place to live. The people who live in Omelas have the perfect life with no worries. The problem is you cannot achieve complete happiness without some sacrifices. Which the people of Omelas had to make a sacrafice, they had to deal with the sacrifice of a small child being neglected to achieve their ultimate happiness.
The residents of Omelas had the choice to ignore a suffering of a child who is held captive in a cellar, or fight for what’s right and essentially leave their homes. What would one prefer: allow an innocent child to suffer certain death, or rid themselves of their comfort and leave their precious city of Omelas? Some of the citizens did not agree with the way the child was being treated and chose to leave Omelas and not be a part of something that was so wrong. This raises the question “Is Omelas really the best place to be with ultimate happiness?
” When you have to treat someone so poorly to achieve your happiness, this is not the way to live life. Within this, it is an easy choice to walk away from the Omelas. So are the people that walk away more compassionate towards the child or is it equal to the people that are staying? Me personally, the ethical thing to do if I was living in Omelas is to walk away, if there is nothing you can do to help the child. People that choose to walk away from Omelas have morals and cannot deal with living a life of happiness.