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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas: Psychomyth in American Literature

Students who research literature should masterfully analyze and interpret intricate plots and philosophical ideas. It's always more challenging to cope with an assignment if a work under analysis is metaphorical and highly symbolic.

"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", written by Ursula Le Guin, can be deemed to be a short story of contrasts, which is able to transform the reader's way of thinking in an instant. The author called her creation a psychomyth for a reason. You'll comprehend its main paradox and psychosocial themes after delving into our summary.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Summary

At the beginning of the story, readers find themselves in an idealistic city called Omelas situated close to the sea. Its citizens celebrate a mirthful Festival of Summer. Both young and old take part in exuberant processions throughout the city. Boys and girls prepare their horses for the holiday race. Vibrant music fills the surroundings, people dance and sing.

An idyllic image, isn't it? Unsurprisingly, the main feature of this society is an incessant happiness. On the contrary, such bliss seems to be a bit weird for an ordinary human endowed with different feelings, both positive and negative ones. However, the reader could possibly think that the dwellers of Omelas mentally surpassed all destructive elements of human nature to achieve their happiness. The author states that this society is not ruled by a monarch and even its laws reflect some freedom because they are not written down. There are no slaves, warriors, and political or religious leaders in Omelas. Le Guin ambiguously portrays the city's sexual ethics, alluding that free love exists but leaving the details to the readers' imagination. It's clear that the people living there have everything they need but, at the same time, they managed to get rid of the superfluity of their demands.

A vague description of Omelas well-being will make an attentive reader suspect some secret hidden beyond the impeccable disguise. And once the author says that the residents of this city "are not simple," the suspicion increases. This "nuance" turns out to be a shocking revelation.

The secret is locked inside a chamber in a basement underneath one of the spectacular buildings of Omelas. It's an anonymous child who is an antipode of joy, peace, and beauty. It doesn't live, it scarcely exists in an unbelievable filth and obscurity; it consumes the same scanty food every day, and no one ever talks to this emaciated being. The population has selected this very child to be an incarnation of sacrifice, which, in an incomprehensible way, helps all other inhabitants of Omelas live peacefully and happily.

The most harrowing thing is that all people find out about the child's existence at one time or another; they enquire the meaning of this sacrifice but they believe that freeing this prisoner means ending of the Omelas' happiness. Though people feel mortified at first, the majority of them take this fact for granted and return to their pleasant lives. Nevertheless, some rare individuals cannot put up with the child's miserable existence. They eventually decide to leave the city of beauty and delight. Though their destinies are unknown, Le Guin alludes that they fathom the right path. They might search for the city of genuine virtues.

This creation is a philosophical parable that raises problems of feigned dreamland and scapegoatism. The writer's main idea revolves around an egocentric human nature, constructing an astonishing paradox, which turns the utopia into a harsh dystopia. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" analysis is a thought-provoking assignment. If you cope with it, it will guarantee you not only a good grade - it will teach you a valuable lesson.

28 December, 2017 in default category name
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