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Essentially, the dark secret in LeGuin's story is that everyone's happiness in Omelas is dependent on the abuse and neglect of a child. Consider this line from the enotes summary of the story: "All the adults understand that everything that is good and wonderful about their city depends 'wholly on this child's abominable misery." In reading about a city where there is no guilt and where there is not barbaric behavior to one another, a setting that sounds as near as utopic as possible, to recognize that the content nature of the society is contingent on the mistreatment and abuse of this child is horrifying and represents the very essence of a dark secret. There has always been the idea that someone's victory comes at another's loss, but to be shown in such a stark and intense manner helps to convey the subterranean cruelty that allows Omelas to exist.
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