Le Guin's short story begins with the following sentence: "With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city of Omelas, bright-towered by the sea." This sentence establishes in its setting an idyllic quality, which will only be further built up as the story unfolds. Omelas is not a real place—in fact, Le Guin is quite clear on that: this is a representation of a Utopia, of an ideal community, and it therefore changes to fit the expectations of each individual who would envision it. Even within the context of the story itself, Omelas doesn't exist outside of the imagination.
I would say that the symbolism of "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" revolves around three symbols: the image of Omelas as utopia, the image of the victimized child, and the image of those who leave Omelas.
These three images are all closely interwoven. As already stated, Omelas itself exists solely as a symbol, a representation, but even in this ideal utopia, Le Guin...
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