Fictional stories are the ones which lead its readers to a world that is changed with the real world. It gives the audience pleasure as well as an insight into a different world. Many fictional writers use their talent and write fictional stories for the audience and many times they include painful realities or experiences of the real world. Similarly in a short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” written by Ursula K. Le Guin, is based on several harsh realities of the real world. In the form of the utopian genre, Le Guin tried to depict several paradigms of tensions in her story and argued about the principle of morality that shows people who had done wrong to anyone will receive detention in the end
The short story represents a small city of joyful and cheerful people, and they are celebrating the summer festival with music and dancing. The saddest part of this poem is that the citizens of Omelas locked a child in a closet within the city and his condition was very vulnerable and bad. Le Guin states, “If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed. Those are the terms.” (282). The people of Omelas supposed that the vulnerability of this child would make them happy forever. It’s a city of happy people, but they are dead from inside. Everyone knows about the bad condition of the child, but no one cares because their happiness is linked to the vulnerable situation of the child.
The people of Omelas showed happy and joyful behavior in the entire story as they do not have any grief in their hearts about that child. They are celebrating a summer festival happily, and a little child is suffering from hunger and sorrow in the closet of a house within the city. A pure heart will lead to the pleasure of true happiness. The citizens of Omelas don’t have a pure heart as they all were pitiless and merciless people. They believe that their happiness depends upon the misery of the child. These people are not humble and poor in spirit as they are selfish and cruel people who locked up a poor child in a miserable condition and linked their happiness to the unfortunate situation of the child.
In the holy book of “Sermon on the Mount,” it is written in verse 5 that “Blessed Are The Meek: For They Shall Inherit The Earth. It means that the most successful people on earth are the ones who are meek. Meek is a term refers to show the gentle, tolerant, patient, and kind behavior of humankind. The people of Omelas are not meek, and they will not succeed to the earth as they are cruel and pitiless people. They are not kind to a child and linked their happiness to the misery of the child. They will have to suffer what they have done with the child. The people of Omelas will suffer in the end as they were cruel and pitiless for a poor little child and locked him up in jail.
Many people of Omelas thought about the child and felt his sufferings, but they all were unable to do something for him. They leave the city and never come back. These were all also selfish people who felt the little child’s sufferings but never done anything for him. They leave the city for their sake so that they will not see the misery the child. The Jesus said in the “Sermon on the Mount” that “Blessed Are The Peacemakers: For They Shall Be Called The Children Of God” which means that the peacemakers will be called the children of God. Peace is calmness and a state of harmony which can be achieved by doing good deeds for the sake of humankind. The people of Omelas are not the peacemakers as they were the selfish and cruel people.
The central theme of the story is based on the fact that a stereotype that is based on a wrong act, or it does not follow the rules of morality then it is not worthy enough to follow. There are several stereotypes in the world that exists today but are not worthy enough to follow. These stereotypes should be removed from the society by the societal members because of their wrong and illogical reasons. The people of Omelas who were not able to reduce the level of vulnerability of the child should not leave their society and should try consistently for the rights of the child. Escaping from the society is not a good option. If anyone wants peace in any community, then it is right to fight for the peace, and it is a real endeavor.
The people of Omelas were living in peace and happiness, but they believed that their happiness is linked to the bad condition of the little child. They supposed that if they leave the child their joy will end and they have to suffer from grief and bad condition. It’s a bad stereotype of the society of Omelas. In the “sermon on the mount” verse 8 stated that “Blessed Are They Which Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake: For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven.” This means that the people who always do the right things are the ones who will enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven. The people of Omelas were doing wrong with the child so that people will never enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven.
According to Jerre Collins, “The story is a critique of American moral life” (525). Le Guin tried to depict the moral life of the United States and showed that it is not based on true moral values. She added that the developed society of the country is based on modern lifestyle, and high living standard but the nation do not consider that it is exploiting the other people and not following the principles of morality. Like the poor child in the short story who was suffering from a very depressed and bad condition in the locked jail. But in the context of the American system, it is not true. The people of Omelas had a bad stereotype, and they were following it due to their belief that they will be happy if they kept the child in the miserable condition. But in the United States, no such stereotypes exist and followed by the society.
In the form of the utopian genre, Le Guin tried to depict several paradigms of tensions in her story and argued about the principle of morality that shows people who had done wrong to anyone will receive detention in the end. The central idea of the story is that many societies are following wrong and illogical stereotypes that are hurting the people like the child in the story. These are not worthy and should not be followed by any society. If any wrong stereotype exists in any society, then its members should try to remove it rather than following it.
Collins, Jerre. “Leaving Omelas, Questions of Faith and Understanding.” Studies in Short Fiction. 27(4), 525-535.
Davies, W. D. The Sermon On The Mount. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.
Le Guin, Ursula K. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. Harper Perennial, 1973. Print.