The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
A background - this is what the brilliant Ursula K. Le Guin brings up in her very short 1973 story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. It just a few pages she asks us to conceive of a utopia, a place where everyone enjoys happiness, the lovely place. But for reasons unspecified, the happiness of all others depend ...more
I read these half-dozen pages a couple of days ago, and it haunts me still.
(Read it here: http://engl210-deykute.wikispaces.umb....)
A strange, disturbing and very thought-provoking short story.
There's something indefinably odd and slightly, chillingly, distant about the language from the start. Th ...more
In case you need reminding that Le Guin is one of the very best of writers, a person of compassion and anger and intellectual rigor and elegant grace, a person of vision... read this story. It is barely 8 ...more
Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fourier's and Bellamy's and Morris's utopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far-off edge of things should lead a life of lonely t ...more
This 1973 Hugo Award-winning fantasy short story is extremely short, and online, and this review will contain some spoilers, so if you haven't read this already, I strongly recommend that you take 5 or 10 minutes right now and do so here. I will wait.
**Random trivia while we're waiting: Le Guin said that the name Omelas came f ...more
This classic short story popped up in my feed this evening, and I decided to hunt it down and read it for myself. Gorgeous gut puncher is all I can say. I love a story that can sneak up on you like that and demand from you everything in you to give. It's one of those stories that insinuates itself into your soul, that lingers in the mind.
LeGuin poses the age-old question, does the end ever justify the means? Is the sacrifice of one or few ever worth it if it means protection of the many? Humans ...more
A friend of mine teaches this story in college. There is a goose-bump moment when one student comprehends why the story is named what it is and w ...more
Na šta smo spremni za vlastitu "sreću" ? Vrijedi li patnja jednog stvorenja , da bi stonine bili sretni ?
Svi mi želimo da se promjene stvari. Ali , ko je spreman da te stvari uzme u svoje ruke i da dela ? Velike reference i sa našim svijetom ,koji je pun patnje da bi nekolicina moglo lijepo živjeti. Svi mi okrećemo leđa od problema, jer ako ne vidimo , problem ne postoji. Izgleda da ljudi ne shvaćaju da odlaženjem iz Omelasa, problem i dalje postoji i da nisu ništa bolji o ...more
Le Guin signals that this is a fable or fairytale by opening with a utopian scene. She unfurls it with the flourish of a carnival, a Festival of Summer that brings out merry mothers, elders in stiff robes, and children whose high calls do no harm. There are horses, colours, ceremonial nakedness, number ...more
What an amazing tale!
I am really glad I read it, (thanks for the recommendation review Stephen) though the imagery and the social and philosophical writing was very heart-wrenching, and/but eye opening indeed, as well.
There are a couple of sites that are offering the eBook version for free in the PDf format and it is short enough that if you have 10-20 minutes to spare, you should definitely give it a shot and let us know what you think, This is one I would not pass up if I were you. I am glad I...more
Though at first appalled at the barbarity of such a bargain, we may begin to realize that in our civilization, though not in such an extreme way, the majority benefits from those who sacrifice to make their lives better. ...more
I stand in awe of the authors who can sketch the multi-dimentional world in few paragraphs. The love and hate, the calm and chaos, the active and passive, the politics and policies, the credo and beliefs, everything wrapped in a dainty package and delivered right at you doorstep. All one has to do is open and decipher it.
In this story Guin tells us of the city Omelas, calmer, happier and more model than any other. But underneath the quiet lies a secret which everyone knows a ...more
"We may be the playthings of Fate. We cannot breathe without taking life. As we talk here, we are ourselves the cause of the deaths of countless little lives."
- Ramayana (Wiliam Buck rendering)
After building a utopia like place in some detail, narrator suddenly turns it into a morality problem, by bringing in a single suffering child. In real world the luxury of a few has always come at price of suffering of others (humans as well as animals). My last read happened to be 'A Modest Proposal' by ...more
The fact that I own items from Nike, Banana Republic and other American apparel companies that have well documented levels of malfeasance in treating their employees - and refuse to end this abuse because shitty people like me keep buying their crap, even when we know what they do - is an ...more
"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is an allegorical tale. Its theme is haunting, its allusions powerful, its meaning multifarious. It's a story about the use of a pharmakos, to keep the society happy. Dealing with issues related to the concept of theodicy, the story mirrors aspects of the current society's dependence on the unfortunate and explores the meaning and cost of happiness as we know it.
Le Gu ...more
The city of Omelas is a place of joy and happiness, but if it doesn't suit you, change it to what makes you happy. Isn't that what we all do now with our lives, our place of joy and happiness. Le Guin even imagines "beautiful nudes that wander about, offering themselves like divine souffles to the hunger of the needy and the rapture of the flesh". And why not drugs, the ones that create "wonderful visions and excite the pleasure of sex beyond belief". I'm b ...more
I want to believe I would walk away from Omelas. And you know what? I'm a hypocrite. I would not feel so outraged should it all happen to an adult. But to a child? "I will be good," it says. "Please let me out. I will be good!" Why a child? Child abuse always gets to me.
And why this sacrifice? Who made this rule? Symbolism be damned, I want this child freed because i know about him/her. I despise the people of Omelas for accepting wha ...more
Zamislite Omelas, na prvi pogled idiličan gradić, prava utopija za svoje stanovnike koji su bezbrižni i sretni i imaju sve što im treba u životu.
Ali Omelas skriva mračnu tajnu. Njihovo bogatstvo izgrađeno je na tuđem siromaštvu, sreća na tuđoj patnji. Da bi bili sretni moraju zatvoriti oči pred tom cijenom, jer ipak što je patnja pojedinca ako je rezultat sreća mnogih? A i bez patnje nema ni sreće.
Stoga se većina pomiri s tom neugodnom činjenicom i ostane živjeti sretno u O ...more
The beginning is a little bit slow. It describes an Utopian city of happiness and prosperity. That is until you hear/read about the dark secret that lies in a city's basement. The price the people pay for this Utopia.
This short story, can make you question your moral beliefs. Would you sacrifice (view spoiler)[one person for the happiness of thousands? (hide spoiler)] Maybe you think you wouldn't. I hope I wou ...more
But, boy, does she make you think. I have yet to read a work of hers that isn't thought-provoking, challenging, brutally honest. She is a writer who deeply plumbs the depths of human nature and society and bri ...more
Reading this short story really makes me uneasy. I myself am a proponent of utilitarianism (the Mill variant, not the Bentham). Ev ...more
It's about a world called Omelas that's perfect and beautiful and plentiful. The price for this perfection i ...more
"Svi znaju u Om ...more
This story is haunting - (view spoiler)[ it's bad enough that the society is allowing one per ...more
“Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to ...more
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