Those that walk away from omelas

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those that walk away from omelas

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

Some inhabitants of a peaceful kingdom cannot tolerate the act of cruelty that underlies its happiness.
The story Omelas was first published in New Dimensions 3, a hard-cover science fiction anthology edited by Robert Silverberg, in October 1973, and the following year it won Le Guin the prestigious Hugo Award for best short story.
It was subsequently printed in her short story collection The Winds Twelve Quarters in 1975.

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Published 30.12.2018

My Favorite Scifi - The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Le Guin we have the theme of conflict, happiness, freedom, sacrifice, acceptance and control. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Le Guin may be exploring the theme of conflict. There are some in Omelas who disapprove of how the boy in the cellar is treated. So conflicted are these people that they decide upon leaving Omelas because they know that the boy is being used as a scapegoat in order for those in Omelas to be happy. Though this may sound illogical considering that the boy is an innocent this nonetheless is the state of affairs in Omelas. With no explanation given as to why the boy is a prisoner.

The people in the city are genuinely happy. A child of nine or ten sits at the edge of the crowd, alone, playing on a wooden flute. But then Le Guin describes one more feature of Omelas. In the basement of one of the buildings, there is a small broom-closet-sized room with a locked door and no windows. A small child is locked inside the room. It looks about 6, but, actually, the child is nearly Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition and neglect.

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Personally, this tale is a very meaningful experience because it touches upon many important aspects of humanity. The story takes place in the City of Omelas, which is a very beautiful city right next to the sea, and it follows the citizens of Omelas who are preparing and celebrating the start of the Festival of Summer. At the beginning, the readers are invited by the narrator to imagine this city according to their ideals. The citizens are simply background characters for most of the time, but this does not stop them from being very complicated people with conflicting motives and thoughts, just like the rest of us who have become a citizen of Omelas by participating in the construction of this city. There are several themes that this short story has chosen to explore, and one of them is exploitation within a society. In the story, the child is the exploited one even though we are told that he or she did nothing wrong to be placed in that position in the first place.


  1. Loacebila says:

    Center for Civic Reflection - Community, Leadership, Dialog

  2. Berangaria D. says:

    Author Ursula Le Guin taught us how to walk away from Omelas - CNET

  3. Oliver W. says:

    Share your voice

  4. Seth K. says:

    Social Injustice as a Fee for Happiness

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