That ambiguities exist in the direction of LeGuin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is apparent as there exist two titles for this story. The second one, "Variations on a theme by William James" suggests that LeGuin is exploring James's theory of pragmatism and setting forth an example for the readers to consider by calling them into the narrative.
James, the older brother of writer Henry James, proposed the theory of pragmatism. This belief contends that a person's thoughts should guide his or her actions, and that truth is a consequence of a person's beliefs, Le Guin's story "takes this belief to its moral consequences" (enotes).
LeGuin's story begins with an idyllic setting: swallows soaring over the "bright-towered" city of Omelas by the sea. Innocence is conveyed with children "naked in the bright air," ready to ride their horses--"the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own"--who wear no gear save a halter. LeGuin tells the narrator, "They were not...
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