Short Story #306: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K Le Guin

Title:  The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Author:  Ursula K Le Guin


Photo of Ursula K. Le Guin.  Source: story launches into discussing the beauty and wonderful features of the city of Omelas, where life is nearly perfect.  However, the narrator is quick to explain that this utopia is not filled with ignorance but with an intelligence tempered by understanding.  The society exists without over-dependence on technology or too many laws.  The true origin of bliss and content within the city of Omelas is a young adult who sits in a basement prison, removed from all contact.  This person is barely kept alive and regularly ridiculed and beaten by the citizens of Omelas.  The child was once a part of the community but was selected to be in this role, where he is subject to neglect, harassment, abuse, and spite by all of those in Omelas.  The children are introduced to him when they are between eight and twelve years old when they are ready to understand.  The children eventually revisit as adults, but not all.  They recognize and frustrated by the predicament of the boy's suffering for their enjoyment but that is also why they make sure to maintain the peace and happiness for to not to do so is to make the boy's fate all the more pointless.  However, every so often one who witnesses the boy cannot contain the emotions it generates and must flee Omelas to a place where they will likely know pain and sorrow.  


This is by far one of the best short stories that I have read this year.  It's so powerful and relevant to the world today.  I see it much in the developed nations wherein people overwhelming enjoy a fulfilled existence but unlike Omelas, never have the opportunity to stare in the face, the reasons why their life is so filled with good fortune. 
Short Story #306 out of 365
Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  10/15/2014
Source:  You can read the full story at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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