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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Discussion of Ursula Le Guin's short story
by

Jennifer Spearie

on 26 March 2012

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Transcript of The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Ursula Le Guin Science fiction Children's Literature Themes Happiness sacrifice justice the unknown guilt complacency
1. Why did the author focus on the identity of the city rather than identities of specific people in the city?

2. Who is the narrator? What is the narrator’s opinion of Omelas?
Why does the narrator often directly address the audience?

3. Describe the setting. What does it contribute to the story?

4. The child in the story may be seen as a scapegoat or a sacrifice. What the significance of such a character? Can you think of other stories that include such a character?

5. What’s more important-the happiness and well-being of an entire society or of the individual? How does the story respond to this question? What is your opinion?

6. What is the narrator’s opinion of the ones who walk away from Omelas? Do you imagine that the narrator could be one of those people? Discussion Questions *No names
* The ones who walk away
*Narrator
*Child Characters
Setting *Idyllic, Utopian Land
*Natural
*Remniscent of Atlantis, Ancient Greece Plot/Conflict Society *No kings/leaders
*Few Laws, Relative Freedom
* No war, slavery, soldiers
*Religion but not temples/clergy
*No guilt
*People are happy but not simple
*Pleasurable lives
(sex, drooz, beer)
*Rituals (Festival of Summer) Story Background Based on William James' "The
Moral Philosopher and the Moral
Life." He proposes a hypothesis
of a utopian society in which millions
are unhappy at the expense of suffering
of one person. He asks whether such a
bargain is morally acceptable.
Le Guin has called this story an allegory of
the “dilemma of the American conscience.”

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