A Town So Beautifully Loathsome

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Critical Analysis over Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" Title: A Town so Beautifully Loathsome How is it that humans can justify living their lives and marveling in their excellence knowing they are allowing themselves to do so at the expense of another individual? These persons believe that the greatness of the mass is well worth the neglect of just one individual. Consequently, this is the dilemma with the town of Omelas and serves as the theme in Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". Guin efficiently demonstrates this idea through powerful characterization, a brilliantly chosen point-of-view, and a well-structured setting.

Le Guin vividly characterizes the people that reside in Omelas. In so few words the author is able to make the reader feel they know the citizens of the utopian town on a personal level. Le Guin first introduces the townsmen as "mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched" (858).

An image of a colony full of brilliant inhabitants is colorfully painted before the reader. Ironically, Le Guin moves on to reveal the most important character of the story, the child in the cellar. The reader is introduced to a dramatic vision of a child that "is so thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes ["¦] its buttocks and thighs are a mass of festered sores" (860). The child is described as "feeble-minded", "defective", or possibly "imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect" (860). It is clear that the child is burdened with the weight of the town above him. Le Guin's description of the child is real enough to bring a heartrending feeling to those who read what Omelas has done to one of its family.

page 2 Le Guin strategically...