Review: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Ones Who Walk Away from OmelasThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll say it. I read it because my favorite music group (BTS) released a music video referencing this book. (Everyone, go watch this profound, aesthetic MV: BTS ‘봄날 (Spring Day)’) To be honest, I just love it when art, music, and literature make cross-overs because it is so fun to explore the connections made between them. This story was fairly short but difficult for me to read because the idea of happiness in Omelas is so genuine when I considered that one piece of misery left in the midst. I think the theme has evaded many readers but to me, the notion that the people of Omelas derive happiness from the one root of sadness is actually possible. Without awareness of someone’s pain and suffering, we ourselves cannot seek happiness because it is only through the existence of misery that we can truly understand what happiness is. This way, citizens of Omelas choose to use this misery as a reason to be kind and live happy lives. Essentially, this is a story about the necessity of evil in order to bring about immense good. I personally cannot reconcile this despite knowing it, and that is why I understand fully why Guin writes about those who walk away from Omelas. Ultimately, it does not matter where they walk towards but only that they walk away from Omelas.

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