michael is the man Essay

Submitted By mandm12345
Words: 417
Pages: 2

The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. LeGuin, is a short story set in a dystopian society. The story starts in the midst of the “Festival of Summer” and eventually turns into dark tale that exhibits the high cost of peace, abundance and the luxury of happiness. If you have not read this piece I strongly suggest you do because, first and foremost, it is an excellent, thought-provoking short story. And secondly, I’m simply not compelled to spend a lot time in plot summary. Ursula K. LeGuin is one the few and proud, self-recognized Science Fiction writers and this short story was first published in New Dimensions 3, edited by Robert Silverberg in 1973.

[Note: Plot spoilers are ahead!]

When I read this piece I cannot help but think of this story’s illustrations. This is a society literally built upon the pain and suffering of a single child. This is expressed through the child’s placement as a cornerstone in the basement of a large important building. The child’s suffering is essential for the peaceful existence of the rest of the dystopia.

LeGuin herself stated that the short story was modeled after Henry James’ interpretation of the scapegoat, being an individual that takes the sins of others upon themselves for the sake of the continuity of a community. After doing some research, however, I found an essay by Elsa Nettels called “The Scapegoats and Martyrs of Henry James,” that explores James’ use of the scapegoat in his own fiction. James’ interpretation usually included that the scapegoat was decidedly similar to a martyr in that he or she decided to carry the weight of…