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“The ones who walk away from Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin

The short story, “The ones who walk away from Omelas”, written by Ursula Le Guin, is about a supposed perfect society where the sacrifice of a boy is what provides the harmony, the equality and the prosperity to the citizens of this city. As a reader, you are invited to create and to visualize your own perfect place in the world, your own Utopia. So that we embrace the reality of this moral dilemma: the happiness of many for the unhappiness of one. The symbol represented in the story reflects the past and present problems of our society, such as the military sacrifice, slavery and injustice.

The narrator describes that Omelas does not have any king (president), political system, the technology, arms or many of the things that at the moment rules our society. As human beings, we fight for freedom, and what we see in our world and in the story, nobody is truly free. “They know that they, like the child, are not free” (Ursula Le Guin) the narrator writes, showing the reader that although apparently, the citizens live “free” in a perfect society. Within their feelings, they are not free. There are no slaves in this utopia, as the narrator describes, however, the child’s freedom is taken from it, just as slavery. The child symbolizes slavery because it does not have liberty, and he is a servant of all the citizens of Omelas. The narrator clearly offers to the reader a contradiction that says: “… she did it without… the slavery” (Ursula Le Guin), but it does not reach the conclusion that the child is a servant of Omelas like a slave to his owner.

The citizens of the city are described like equals, prosperous and filled with joy, excluding the young child who is mistreated and confined. The child lives as much as the slaves did in the America, where the son of a slave had to become a slave and they will never be freed. The dirt and poor condition of this prison where the child lives reflected the same situation of many slaves back in the day. Another symbol that reflects the slavery in the story would be the smelling rags next to the buckets next to the dirty closet, which serves as a reminder of the role the child has like a slave, like a servant for the town. This amazing story, shows that humans beings are creatures of habit. That sometimes we continue to participate, or even do not pay attention into harmful practices. Just for the simple fact that we as individuals, feel powerless and unable to stand up against societies in which the behaviors have always been accepted.

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