The article that resonates with me the most is the short story by Ursula Le Guin under the title “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” In an exciting combination of descriptive narrative and directly referring to readers, the author manages to convey a complicated twofold message. On the surface, there is a story about the people from the city of Omelas, and behind it, the existential discussion of the meaning of happiness and suffering is presented. I find these issues relevant empathic since I can relate to those who leave Omelas.
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When I read about the city in the first section, my interest and attention were not fully captured until the author introduced the child’s character locked in the basement. In response to the phrase “Now do you believe in them? Are they not more credible,” I thought I believed the story more when a person who suffers appeared in the picture (Le Guin, 2015, p. 263). On the background of the child who is defective and is bound to an isolated life and continuous bullying, the joyful life of the people from Omelas looks much brighter and more meaningful.
However, not all people “come to see it” and tell their children about it (Le Guin, 2015, p. 259). Some people react more emotionally; they are those who walk away from Omelas. I empathize with those people because I think I understand their feelings. It is impossible to live in a community that realizes its happiness only when it is opposed to someone else’s suffering. The irresistible truth that “they all know that it has to be there” because everything good they have depends “wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (Le Guin, 2015, p. 260). I feel that walking away is a genuinely understandable decision because it is impossible to change this bitter truth of life.
Le Guin, U. K. (2015). The ones who walk away from Omelas. In The wind’s twelve quarters: Short stories (pp. 254-263). London, UK: Hachette.