The city of Omelas is nearly what seems to be an enchanted utopia that almost comes
directly from a happily ever after fairy tale, with the people of the city always seeming to
be cheerful and smiling, and the description of the city being brought out with words of
physical beauty and the sense of internal comforting emotions that give a delight.
However, in the mists of all that appears to be glorifying for this wonderful place, there is
the torture of one small child that is carried on within the city. The abuse and neglect of
this innocent child is so severe that the poor thing has become to grow a phobia of the
mops in it’s prison cellar and is also undetermined of which sex the child is. The only
signs of actual humanity the little one has are that of when it pleads of good behavior if
released, but of course these cries are left unanswered. Sadly, everyone knows about this
cruel event taking place, but reluctantly no one takes any actions to stop this. It appears
that to the residents of Omelas, the abuse of this one child is what gives them there
happiness and beauty of their city. For some though the shocking and inhumane actions
taken on this child are too much to bear and deal with so they leave [“These people go
out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking and walk straight
out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gate.” (Le Guin 322)], but for the
residents that live here, its simply jus the living way of their tradition.
The Child serves a purpose so great and important that the city does its best to ignore it.
One might think that nothing is worth what this child must go through; however, in this
case, it is worth it.
The author explains that their “happiness”, “health of their children”,
the “wisdom of their scholars”, and the “kindly weathers of their skies”, “depend wholly
on this child’s abominable misery”.
This child is the representation of balance.
this child, this society would fall apart.
The story even describes that some of the people
“feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations”.
The child is the balance
even if it was “brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and
fed and comforted, that would
be a good thing indeed; but if it were done, in that day and
hour all prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed”.
This explains that even if the child was treated with the same love and kindness as the