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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Le Guin, Ursula
Can one person change the world?Must action, to be meaningful, always lead to social change?What enables change? What gets in the way?
Think about the community where you live: the schools, stores, parks, libraries, restaurants and the relationships you have developed with your neighbors. What do you like about your community? What don't you like? What brought you to live there? Jot a few things down and share your thoughts with a partner when ready.
- What is your response to being openly addressed and questioned by the narrator?
- Why do you think the narrator questions our ability to accept and believe that Omelas exists?
- Does the image of the child in the basement make Omelas a more believable place? Why does the narrator think it does?
- Why is the happiness of Omelas dependent on this one child's "abominable misery"?
- Whenever adolescents go visit the child, we are told, "their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it". What is a "terrible justice of reality" in the short story or in your own experiences? What does it mean to accept such things?
- Why is the destination of the people who leave Omelas harder to imagine than the city? Why is it possible that their destination does not exist?
- Have you ever walked away from a community or seen someone else do so? What was your response? What effect did it have?
- Does it change anything when the people of Omelas leave the city for an unknown destination?
What is one question this discussion has raised that you didn't have before?
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