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Book Notes: The ones who walked away from Omelas

– A short story about a utopian city whose happiness depends on the suffering of a single child locked in a closet alone
– Author wrote to deliberately reflect reality
– We are all playing the game of life, living by the rules of a capitalist society
– Can you accept the happiness of your life if you knew that your ‘happiness’ came at the expense of those who suffer?
– The young ones often are enraged and disgusted, but they learn to accept and even rationalise the suffering of that one child for the happiness of their own
– At times some of these children do not weep or go home in rage, but simply leave Omelas.
– To where? Perhaps that place they are are walking to does not exist, but they seem to know where they are going
– Or are we all the ones locked in the closet, too stupid to know what life could be like outside of these walls?

– Her closing words are sad, yet truthful: “Omelas already exists: no need to build it or choose it. We already live here – in the narrow, foul, dark prison we let our ignorance, fear, and hatred build for us and keep us in, here in the splendid, beautiful city of life. . . .”

Themes: self-awareness, definition of happiness, suffering, social equality