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Nathan Tamborello

Dr. Wingard

ENGL 4319

25 October 2017

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Main Signposts:

1. Again & Again: this signpost occurs repeatedly throughout this text. It begins with “How

to describe the people of Omelas?” (Le Guin 1973, pg. 1), a question the narrator

frequently has trouble figuring out himself. Our narrator seems to know as much, or as

little, as we do about Omelas.

The next bout of repetition comes when the narrator attempts to describe Omelas and

insists that as readers, or listeners, we will not believe just how JOYOUS Omelas is. The

word joy is found throughout the reading as the narrator attempts to assuage our doubts

about Omelas.

The main repetition in this story is it. The narrator uses the word it, or variations therein,

a total of 46 times in 2 pages. It is the single most pivotal detail of Omelas that solidifies

the fact that Omelas is a terrible place underneath the façade of joy it exhumes. It

describes a child, an aberration, locked away in a dirt floor dungeon forever, not given a

gender, not given a name: regaled to live its life slowly becoming dumber and dumber so

that the people of Omelas can sleep at night knowing that it is locked away for the greater

good.

2. Aha! Moment: there is no dialogue in this story, but I believe there is an Aha Moment.

The entirety of page 3 is where we learn what lies beneath the perfect city of Omelas, and
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understand why the narrator tried to make us see that it was not so joyous beforehand.

When we learn about the child locked away, we are disgusted that this society exists - yet

it does.

3. Words of the Wiser: again, there is no dialogue, but we are led to believe that there are

enlightened people that exist in the city, and they are the ones who walk away from

Omelas. People realise the dark vein that stretches through the city and would rather live

in a society that isn’t perfect than one that pretends to be perfect when it clearly is deeply

flawed. The last paragraph is about the wiser people of Omelas - or are they wiser?

Whose viewpoint are we looking from?

Lesson Plan:

Þ Split up into groups of two people

Þ One person is a dutiful citizen of Omelas

Þ The second person is one who walks away from Omelas

Þ Write a 2-3 paragraph summary about why you feel the way you do about Omelas,

and what lead you to your conclusion. The Citizen of Omelas will be playing “devil’s

advocate” in this scenario, but be convincing. You can come up with expanded

backstories for your characters.

Þ (WORDS OF WISER INCLUSION) Each group member try to persuade your

partner to come over to your side of thinking. Think about the benefits that your

ideology offers. Try to list them out and expound upon them.

Þ (SIGNPOST LESSON INCLUSION) Each group member needs to explain what they

think about It. Why do you feel this way? What do you see when you picture it? What

does it represent to you?


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Þ Come back into a large group setting and discuss the answers that each member had.

Who did you choose to be? Why? What did you come away with in the end? How

would you fix this society, or do you think that it is broken in the first place?

REFERENCES

Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” New Dimensions, Vol. 3. Ed.

Robert Silverberg. Doubleday, 1973. 1-4. Utilitarianism. 23 October 2017.