In "The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas," do the author's answers to the questions provide sufficient information to resolve the conflicts?Also, how do questions posed by the author establish the...

In "The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas," do the author's answers to the questions provide sufficient information to resolve the conflicts?

Also, how do questions posed by the author establish the plot of the story?

Asked on by mccorklek

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that some of the most rich elements of the story is how LeGuin poses philosophical questions and frames them in the context of action in the narrative.  The questions posed by the author are philosophical, in nature.  Her use of Omelas as a test case for the issue of happiness is a powerful one.  A question that arises is whether or not happiness can exist at the direct cost of someone else's?  Does one person or group's happiness override the experience of an individual?  Another question that is posed that is intellectually adjacent to this one is how does the rights of the minority stack in comparison to the majority's experience?  Finally, the question is posed whether or not one can live in a social order where their happiness is contingent on the oppression of another.  These questions are not answered.  They are probed and expanded.   The reader is foolish if they believe that there can be a definitive answer given or even derived at such questions, as these are the issues that strike at our very being and essence in the world.  In developing the plot of the story, these questions are actually developed into greater complexity.  In terms of the resolution posed, I am not sure there is one as there is little resolution in these questions.  What ends up happening is that the reader examines LeGuin's development in the course of the narrative and then must assess for themselves what they would do in Omelas and then what implications does the story have in the reader's own experience.

onlytoofar's profile pic

onlytoofar | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

This enigmatic sense you have is an essential part of great art,namely to affect the audience through their experience,such that one's consciosness is spoken to somewhat mysteriously through the brilliant use of analogy and symbol.The question you ask comes from within you.Do you see any paralele's in the life of the individual in your society and culture?I believe your question is the answer and the point of the story.Do we have any similar restrictions on the multiplicity and possibillity of our well being placed conditionaly on us?Do our parents command us as children to love them unconditionaly? Of many literary works I have experienced this story continues to inform me often after almost 30 years later.This is a type of question among many that has made that happen.

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