"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas": Happiness Brought by Misfortunes

Essay by singer85University, Bachelor'sA+, October 2008

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There is no point in going though life if you go through it miserably. This is why happiness is always desired, but at what costs should it be obtained? Should happiness be brought forth by the misfortunes of others? The people in a town, the town of Omelas, live their lives in a utopia. In a world full of happiness, sweet blissfulness brought by a single belief, one secret, a hidden door to it all. This is where the magic behind it all is tucked away. Kept forever buried away to be forgotten by most and overlooked by many.

The swallows soared, people danced, and joy was overcome by everyone and everything. It was the "Festival of Summer" (Le Guin 249) in the town of Omelas and everyone was vibrant and jolly. Although they lead lives of pure tranquility, these people are not to be considered unaware individuals or boring.

"These were not simple folk, not dulcet shepherds, noble savages, bland utopians" (249). They know the secret that has lead to it all, the reason for their enchanted lives to be what they are. The child locked away in the cellar, or maybe it is the basement, it doesn't really matter, it's in the back of their minds forgotten. Erased from their memory by all the happy things that have followed.

Townsfolk of all ages believe in the idea that their happiness and the happiness of all those in Omelas is brought forth by the misery of another being, "some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness" (252) and all the beauty that comes from within their city is brought by the pain and suffering of but one young child. They know and see, the ones that choose to, the agony that...