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“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin



“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin

This story was read from the anthology “The Unreal and the Real” by Ursula K. le Guin. 

Here is a link that does a very critical break down of this story:

You can also read this story for free here: http://engl210-deykute.wikispaces.umb.edu/file/view/omelas.pdf

This was an interesting story.  It didn’t have much in the way of anything going on, but was more of a description of the village, or city, of Omelas.  This story was narrated and the narrator was not named or identified.  I would have liked to know who was talking about the city and giving me the description.

It opened up with the beginning of the people getting ready for a summer festival.  The utopia that everyone lived in and how everyone worked to make the city a great place to live and be happy.  It reminded me of communism a little bit with the references to how each worked their share for the others.  Later on, there is a twist in the story.

We learn that everyone’s happiness hinges on a child who is locked up.  He sits in his own feces, is fed minimal food and water, and his body is covered in sores.  People come and visit him and are enraged at his treatment.  Yet they justify his treatment by telling themselves that even if he were let out of his cage he wouldn’t know how to be happy.  His happiness is the cage, malnutrition, and sores on his body.  However, every now and then after visiting the child, people will walk home, but then just keep going.  They walk out of the city of Omelas, where they go is anyone’s guess.  The forest, the mountains, another city.  They walk out and are never heard from again.


This story had lots of description.  I could see what was happening very vividly.  I didn’t really see a plot happening and there wasn’t any real story to follow per se.  This was more of just listening to a narrator telling you about a utopia called Omelas.  I found it to be an alright story about a city.  I would of liked to hear more about the race that was beginning to take shape, but never resolved.  That would of at least left me satisfied with some sort of plot.  Using the horse race as a catalyst for the rest of the descriptive nature of the narration.




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