Omelas is an idea of utopia. It is an imaginary place where everything is perfect. Utopia is something absolutely necessary to social change with a perception of something better, filled with joy so the chances of social progress is high. However, someone’s utopia may cause others to lose their freedom. In the short story “The ones who walked away from Omelas” by the author Ursula K. LeGuin is based on a message that shows how society sees their happiness through someone else’s misery.
After building a utopia, the narrator suddenly turns it into a morality problem. The residents from Omelas put an individual in contrast to a number of people acting as a group, to justify a small evil for a greater good. The people of Omelas are individualists and peculiar at the same time. They force a child to live a terrible life so they can see the difference between their lives and the child’s. Through this difference they recognize that their lives are in fact a high quality life full of happiness and joy.
They Trade the child for happiness. They are entirely dependable on this child’s misery. The responsibility of this child is to maintain the town a happy place by sitting in that basement and live with distress, unhappiness, and misery so others could live the opposite. Every single person of Omelas allowed the child’s mistreatment so they can be happy. The excuse for this is that the child has psychological trauma and is too mentally damaged to appreciate the high quality life and that is the reason the child is ignored and left there.
They all understand that the happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of theirs skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery. ” (pg. 261) There seems to be a kind of investment in misery, and the return of their investment were in the form of happiness. The people from Omelas were using someone, were investing in someone’s suffering to have a high quality life full of good things.
They were using an individual to build their utopia. Without that child’s pain and misery, Omelas would be gone. The symbolism in this story can be interpreted using the story of Jesus. In the bible Jesus was crucified to save the humanity. In the story the little child that suffers is Jesus, and the city is the humanity. The boy saved the city from all their sins to live in happiness. The people leaving Omelas are going towards that better place, that can also be related to an story in the bible about the holy city which is the city that is totally separated from sin.
Some of those people think that leaving Omelas is the best way to deal with the situation. It is not easy to establish exactly who the good and evil people are on this point of view because even the ones who left did not make an effort to take the child with them. They leave the child behind. Walking away means that they are not involved anymore, that they are good for not accepting that, but they are still evil for not attempting to take the child with them. The ones who walk away from Omelas are just as guilty as the ones who stayed. The child in the story is referred to the word “it”.
No one is allowed to even speak a kind word to it, so, though it remembers “sunlight and its mother’s voice,” (pg. 261) it has been removed from all human society. When The people from Omelas find out about the child for the first time, they react oddly. They do not react as any other normal person would react after seeing a child on that situation. They have been told that the freedom of this child will vanish all the great things about Omelas, so they think that the well being, the comfort of an entire city is worth more than one child. The people from omela came up with excuses to ignore the suffering child, and got divided into groups.
The ones who believed that the child incarceration was for the best. The ones who think only about living their life to the fullest and making the most out of it to compensate that child’s suffering, and there is a third group of people who just leave the city and never come back so they did not have to deal, or be part of that child’s suffering The narrator starts the first half of the stories telling about a light imagery. Talking about how joyful and happy that place was, then on the other half of the story it is all about dark imagery.