Culture and Values Essay

Topics: Homelessness, Ursula K. Le Guin, Poverty Pages: 3 (1089 words) Published: February 15, 2011
Major Essay II Culture and Values (final draft)

The short story, “The One Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin is a metaphorical look at how we as a society are content to accept things the way they are instead of taking a stand for what is right. In the story Le Guin begins by describing a perfect utopia, from the “eighteen peaks burned with white-gold fire across the miles of sunlit air” to the “great water-meadow called Green Fields”, Omelas is a picture perfect city (Le Guin pg 293). If Le Guin’s glorious description is not enough she invites the reader to imagine their own ideal society. As the reader begins to picture their own perfect society, Le Guin begins to explain why the city of Omelas is able to stay so perfect. The happiness of the city is dependent upon the suffering and neglect of one helpless child locked away in a dark basement. In order for Omelas to flourish, the child must be mentally and physically neglected. After being exposed to the child the residents are all content to continue about their daily lives unwilling to sacrifice their own happiness to save the child. Sometimes there are “The ones who walk away”, but Le Guin doesn’t say where or why they choose to walk away. Is today’s society any different than the one represented in Omelas? We choose to turn a blind eye to much of the suffering and injustice around the world today. There are similarities in today’s culture that parallel that of Omelas.

By imagining Omelas and allowing ourselves to give in to thoughts of a perfect world our morals come into question. We give in to our own selfish wants and desires. Each day we make decisions in the way we live our lives. Some of us choose to take a higher path and be the ones to stand up for what we believe to be right and then there are those who are content to live each day without a second thought to those in need as long as they are happy. At times people feel that in order to be happy they have to base their...

Cited: Le Guin, Ursula. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The Curious Writer. 3rd ed. Bruce Ballenger.
Boston: Pearson. 2011. 293-297. Print.
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