How Morality Kills Utopias Essay

Submitted By gibbsenator
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Writing About Literature
How Morality Kills Utopias Since the beginning of community as a concept there have been fantasies of a perfect society where its people find total content and peace. These Ideal places are known as utopias, and often times they model our society today. Omelas is the fictional utopia vividly created by Ursula Le Guin in her short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” Omelas is a society much like ours. The differences being the people of Omelas do not feel guilt or displeasure. Le Guin uses the apparent ecstasy of Omela’s people and the misery of the child to show that society would surrender their morals to create a utopia. Omelas was created in a deal with the devil situation it seems, where under the proposed conditions, those who live in the fair city will be eternally joyous and have everything they need. While this seems to be a beautiful gift, a more sinister condition exists in this fair city. “In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door and no window. A little light seeps in dustily between the cracks in the boards, second hand from a cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads stand near a rusty bucket. The floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch, as cellar dirt usually is… In the room a child is sitting” (Le Guin 45). Le Guin uses impeccable detail to portray this child’s miserable living conditions. She goes on to write about the child’s nakedness, male nourishment, and abuse with great intention. Le Guin is almost methodical when she paints the mobs with words. She uses our senses to leave us vulnerable to empathy. Le Guin uses great diction to make the reader feel conflicted just like the people of Omelas are conflicted the first time they see the child. Yet no body does more than walk away, “The terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child” (Le Guin 47). The child is tortured by the community so they can go on living their comfortable lives. Does the undisputed happiness of many mean more to us than the soul of one child? The story gets especially dark when we consider the narrator’s statement, “one thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt” (Le Guin 44). The people of Omelas commit soul-murder every day to live in what they consider utopia and that causes no guilt for them. Le Guin uses this statement to give voice to the people of Omelas. She is stressing that under no circumstances would there be a hero here. It is even more than that though; the people actually believe they deserve to be happy, like what they do isn’t inhumane. This shows us how determined and sometimes arrogant we will be to get that which we most desire. Most of us probably think when faced with this scenario we would walk away or even help the child. But we would be doing what is against human nature entirely. Most of us are not strong enough and those who are 100% convinced that they are, they are weaker than those who put him there. Without the actual proposition of a possibly perfect life traded for a heinous act such as this, we need to accept that in no way are we perfect humans who would throw ourselves in the shoes of the child to give him a better life than ours. We do not even know him. While we are all selfish beings by nature, donating our time and money to those in need only to brag about our self-righteousness to anyone who will listen, claiming a season of giving only to bad mouth a boss who cut Christmas bonuses. There are a handful of us who do not seek acceptance from society, a few of us who quietly bare the burdens of others because they are truly grateful and humbled by this world. From conception these people may find themselves painted as out casts, they confuse people, and threaten people. Le Guin has