No paradise in the Presence of Dereliction


Imaginative writer Ursula Le Guin introduces her short story “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas” with a utopian setting of what Omelas’s City is like during the jubilant Festival of Summer. The Festival of Summer is supposed to be a celebration of life and not a celebration for the death of enemies. The author then goes into explaining why the Omelas residents are happy by saying, “Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, what is destructive”. Living in a world where discrimination occurs to homeless and neglected children is constantly ignored and believing it causes contentment is not a righteous place.

The author advises that people of Omelas are not your common mortal, they are ecstatic and less complicated than the successes of our society. The Omelas maintain merry lives even when they perceive a neighbor’s juvenile suffering. Following the festival, a parade of fortunate happy characters passes by the city where kinds of impoverished inhabitants and children reside. They appear to be evident in the eyes of fortunate citizens of Omelas, but no mind is paying attention. The gloomy resonance of the children’s flutes is becoming a familiar sound that fades in their heads. The author explains that Omelas confines a child in a building within the municipality. The child bellows for help from anyone but no one apprehends the child.

The child’s outcries become distant and fade to the residents of Omelas who unfortunately depend on this torture to be contented.

The adults of Omelas inform their children about maltreatment given to homeless children in their town and their children discover a feeling of guilt without knowing the meaning of culpability. A few residents desire for relief of the homeless children, but first aims for the cheerfulness of one’s flesh and bones. The City of Omelas uses this method as a critical rule of pure glee. The children of the fortunate ones can’t seem to comprehend the horrid mystery, but what can they do? They are simply children who are doing as they are taught. Eventually, the misery of the vagrants becoming a ritual to the children of the lucky families with shelter and freedom. The blessed children grow to become their parents’ and don’t seem to understand why the feeling of vexation is occurring towards what their ethics consider valueless. Deep down they feel pity wanting to help the other children of a saddening existence. They don’t even know what guilt means, yet feel their morals arriving. Some of the children in the narrative departure from the happiness Omelas has to offer and never return to the felicitous side of paradise.

Meanwhile, the less fortunate ones of Omelas City try to understand and accept that there’s not much they can do about it. They accept that the expression of freedom is not legitimate in their community. The penurious people have the knowledge and a beating heart like the successors of their city, but no one seems to notice or care to give them a chance of happiness.

Now, I understand where Ursula Le Guin’s views made sense in her story. The author briefly is describing that Omelas City is just like the regular people of North America. There are the fortunate ones with good jobs and money. Financial stability does cause less stress and can better someone’s happiness. I remember many times where I was sad because I couldn’t get my daughter a toy, she wanted due to a lack of my finances. The American people do as the Omelas citizens do, which is passed by a shelter less soul in their cars and roll up their windows hoping a homeless person doesn’t ask for a quarter that is meant for a carwash. We pass and ignore the homeless sitting against buildings or sleeping on a bench in NYC, I’ve witnessed it from a large continuous crowd that never ends. Like the Omelas Festival of summer, we have Fourth of July and don’t even offer extra hotdogs forgotten on the grill from being too drunk on booze (which sounds similar to Omelas drooz). I agree that even we as parents and teachers educate children by saying phrases “there are children who don’t have any Christmas presents”. The children of our world don’t understand, especially the younger ones. How could they? Finally, after re-reading Omelas’ tale a few times I comprehended what she meant by the people who leave never come back. When she states something, she believed was more incredible about the happiness of Omelas responding, “These people go out into the streets, and walk down the street alone,” I realized that the final statement of her story is another unfortunate problem today in our states. Some teenagers run away from home because no one listens or pays attention. Even adults can drift away to a roofless life when alcohol and depression controlled their mind separating happiness of family and stability of their lives.

I understand that more children are becoming homeless or lost in both Omelas and our world. If you see a child that looks lost, don’t ignore them. You could prevent them from becoming another child without a warm place to stay during the wet snowy days. Donate clothes that do not fit you or your kids to those in need. Make Omelas a happy place for all and not just for one type of class. Call the police station or ask the child if they are lost. Don’t ignore a suspicious van following children from school they could take them out of Omelas where they will never come back. Communicate to your troubled child so that you can deter them from running away and entering the foreboding side the streets have to offer. If children, teens, adults are not doing anything to limit discrimination and unsheltered people of any sort, then conceivably Omelas is not my wonderland. But, if Omelas could try to make the ones who suffer more content than it could be an equitable utopia.

Work Cited

Guin, Ursula Le. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” The Wind’s Twelve Quarters: Short Stories, Ones-Who-Walk-Away-From-Omelas.pdf.

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