Friday, June 20, 2008

Le Guin and the Omelas

I've been on a cleaning jag lately, and while organizing some papers I found a note to myself to read a short story by Ursula Le Guin. Hoping it was available online (and, quite frankly, looking for a reason to take a break), I found myself in luck -- and stopped cleaning immediately to read it.

The story, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," was short but very powerful, and I'm still thinking about it now, almost 24 hours later. Omelas is, in a sense, a utopia, although Le Guin ultimately proves that the only place a utopia can be found is no place at all.

If you haven't yet had the pleasure of reading "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," then you may go here to read it in full.

I'd love to hear your thoughts after you've read the story. What did you think of the terrible paradox of Omelas? Could you live with this "terrible justice of reality"? Or would you be among those who "walk ahead into the darkness"?

3 comments:

Irish said...

Thank you for introducing me to a great short story. I thought that it was beautifully written...and very thought provoking. I would love to be able to say that I would walk away once I knew the truth. But its easy to say that when I am sitting comfortably on my couch. In such a situation I think that both choices are tough ones. There is the guilt that comes with the first...staying and doing nothing. But with the second you have the unknown to deal with. Which can be even scarier than living with the truth.

Mez said...

ohh.. my...

this isn't an easy story. Could I stay and self-justify the decision or step out of my undoubtably comfortable zone. I think it's interesting that those who walk do so alone, almost as if it's a requirement. Also I get to thinking how was the choice first made, how many agreed at the foundation of Omelas, will there be a time when the choice for the City as a whole must be made again. Thank you for this.

Bibliolatrist said...

I'd like to think I'd leave, but knowing my lazy ass, I'd probably stay.

But I'd feel reeeeaaallly bad about it.